In this federal government’s debut budget, unveiled Tuesday, the Liberals have committed $2-billion over three years, starting in 2016, to a new, strategic investment fund for post-secondary institutions. The federal government, working with the provinces, will support up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs of campus infrastructure projects through the time-limited initiative.
“The prosperity of Canadians relies on the ability of the country to attract and retain talented people, boost innovation and build a sustainable economy,” stated the budget. “The quality of infrastructure at Canadian post-secondary institutions play a key role in these efforts.”
The initiative builds on the federal government’s significant investments in research infrastructure and the substantial funding from the provinces and territories for campus renewal every year. The budget noted that much of the country’s post-secondary infrastructure is more than 25 years old and reaching the end of its lifespan.
In particular, the initiative is aimed at modernizing and improving the sustainability of research and commercialization facilities at universities as well as industry-relevant training facilities at college and polytechnic institutions. Examples of eligible projects include:
- The conversion of underused space into new research labs that advance a university’s excellence in a specialized field.
- The expansion of on-campus incubators and accelerators to increase support for entrepreneurs and start-ups as they grow their businesses.
- The retrofit of existing buildings for advanced training or research and development with more energy efficient heating systems, in pursuit of LEED standards.
The initiative’s targeted, short-terms investments are expected to stimulate the economy. The budget indicated that the federal government is working to roll out the initiative as fast as possible, in consultation with the provinces and territories.