Budget 2018: Support for applied research is needed to meet the government’s skills and innovation goals

Ottawa, February 22, 2018 – Having launched several initiatives over the last year that clearly place skills and innovation at the forefront of the federal government’s agenda, the time has come for Ottawa to provide additional support to college and institute led applied research. This remains the main preoccupation of colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics across Canada who are looking to Budget 2018 for recognition of the critical role they play in the country’s innovation ecosystem.

Despite clear growth in research activity, colleges and institutes are only able to access roughly 2.5% of federal research funding. This is simply not enough to keep up with demand, leaving a tremendous amount of innovation potential untapped while they are forced to turn down potential private sector partners.

With over 30 colleges and institutes involved in the recently announced innovation superclusters, there is no doubt that Canadian businesses, including thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises, recognize the value of their expertise in applied research. But more must be done to establish base funding and facilitate those partnerships.

“Our top priority remains the call for a significant increase in the College and Community Innovation Program funding for the applied research carried out by colleges and institutes with partners in all sectors”, says Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) president and CEO, Denise Amyot. “We believe these investments make a distinct and important contribution to the achievement of the Innovation and Skills Plan goals and will complement government initiatives resulting from the horizontal innovation program review, the creation of Innovation Canada and the launch of the superclusters.”

This observation was also shared by leaders from colleges and institutes across the country who met last week in Ottawa for CICan’s Applied Research Symposium. It is clear that the need for additional research funding has never been greater across the entire college and institute system.


Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Budget 2018 recommendations:

  • Increase the current funding for college applied research to $100 million per year, as a first step towards ramping up this investment to $300 million per year by 2022.
  • Make a new investment of $25 million per year in research support funding for college and institute applied research offices to stabilize their role as innovation centres in their communities and regions.
  • Invest in a second round of the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, prioritising investments that will makes campuses greener, more energy efficient and aligned with key priorities including Indigenous learning, entrepreneurship development, and innovation.
  • Invest further in adult basic education, essential skills training and upskilling for Indigenous people to improve labour market outcomes and support economic development in Indigenous, rural, remote, and northern communities.
  • Invest $26 million per year to support truth and reconciliation programming and wrap-around services at post-secondary institutions to improve the recruitment, retention and academic success of Indigenous students.
  • Enhance incentives to employers for the retention of third and fourth year apprentices through to completion.
  • Invest in incubators for student entrepreneurs at colleges and institutes to expand employment options for young graduates and career transition opportunities for mature learners.
  • Fund international work-integrated learning mobility opportunities for college and institute students to enable them to acquire the skills needed to compete in a global marketplace.

To read more about each recommendation, download CICan’s full submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance here.


About Colleges and Institutes Canada:

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.



For more information:

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Tel. : 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan