Thank you very much, Chair.
I'm delighted to be here again. It's great to see a lot of familiar faces and a few new faces as well. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to address this esteemed committee.
I'd like to welcome ministerial colleague Dr. , who will be joining you in the next hour to update you on her role and her mandate as the Minister of Science.
Not here today but an integral part of our ministerial team is the Honourable . In addition to her critical role as government House leader, Minister Chagger is working with us to drive economic growth in the small business and tourism sectors.
I would also like to acknowledge my deputy minister, John Knubley, and Kelly Gillis, our associate deputy minister.
I've been invited, as you mentioned, to update the committee on the content of the latest round of supplementary estimates that we've recently tabled.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development—the ISED portfolio—is presenting an increase of $409.6 million, resulting mainly from new funding under budget 2016. The highlights are as follows: $249.3 million to the post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund to enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses; $64.8 million to support investigator-led research under the research support fund and the grants and scholarships programs; and $40.6 million to the Canada first research excellence fund. I suspect that my colleague Minister will speak to these specific investments.
We've also invested $20.8 million to support internships under the youth employment strategy; and $10 million to support cutting-edge research and development through the European Space Agency's advanced research in telecommunications systems programming.
I'd also like to give the committee an idea of what we've been up to since my last appearance here in April.
My main focus has been leading the development of an inclusive innovation agenda.
The inclusive innovation agenda is our government's plan to drive economic growth by making Canada a global leader in innovation. It will create well-paying jobs for the middle class and for those working hard to join it.
The first and most important phase in developing this plan was to hear from Canadians. As you know, Chair and colleagues, the government does not have a monopoly on good ideas. Over the summer, we held 28 round table discussions. We invited Canadians from coast to coast to visit our website and to comment on social media. In all, we received more than 1,500 ideas on how to make Canada a global leader in innovation.
I want to take this opportunity to quickly highlight three themes that came from those conversations and discussions.
First, we heard about the need for more people with the right skills and experience to drive innovation.
Second, we heard about the need to harness emerging technologies to achieve big things.
Third and last, Canadians told us it was important to develop the next generation of globally competitive companies.
In the coming months, those ideas will help inform our government's work as we prepare the budget.
It is also worth noting
that Budget 2016 made several important down payments in support of the innovation agenda.
It allocated $2 billion to renew university and college campuses across the country. The budget also committed $800 million over the next four years to strengthen innovation networks and clusters. More than $1 billion is being invested in the development of clean technologies. These are bold investments designed to drive economic growth through innovation and to create, again, good-quality jobs for the middle class.
The consultation process for the innovation agenda has given me the opportunity to travel to many communities across the country.
I am always impressed during these visits with the work being done by our regional development agencies to support the economic growth of communities across the country.
Our government has chosen to align all the regional development agencies under one portfolio. The goal, and I've said this on numerous occasions, and I'm glad we're succeeding in doing this, is to elevate their importance and make them part of our government's overall agenda for economic growth. I'm pleased to report that this change has resulted in the alignment of priorities and best practices amongst the agencies.
The focus of these agencies now includes developing young companies, so we want to have a strong pipeline of companies, but we want to identify opportunities for these companies to scale up and grow, one of the key themes we heard from Canadians. Diversifying our regional economies still remains a priority because we understand the unique nature of each of the respective regions. Other goals are promoting clean technology and supporting our indigenous communities.
This theme of collaboration informs all our actions as a government.
In June and earlier this month, I chaired meetings of my provincial and territorial counterparts. These were the first meetings of this kind in 12 years, and they set a new tone for constructive engagement. Again, we recognize that not only do we not have a monopoly on good ideas, but also that it's going to require a collective effort and that it's important that we work with provincial, territorial, and municipal counterparts. That spirit and that partnership also resulted in the Atlantic growth strategy that we launched over the summer. This strategy will target actions to stimulate the economy of all four Atlantic provinces.
Another historic result of our collaboration with the provinces and territories is our work to renew our framework for internal trade. We are on the cusp of concluding negotiations for a new Canada free trade agreement.
This agreement will provide an ambitious and modern framework for the free flow of goods and services within Canada's borders.
Our work to conclude this agreement is all the more significant at a time when the rest of the world is talking about putting up more barriers to trade. We recognize that rise in protectionism.
Another key value of this government is inclusion.
That's why we tabled a bill to promote corporate transparency and diversity. Among other things, Bill aims to increase the number of under-represented groups on corporate boards and senior management teams. Corporations will be required to make public their diversity policies, and those corporations without diversity policies will have to explain why they don't have one.
While we know that security regulators have focused on gender diversity policies, this law goes farther. The goal is to attract the best and the brightest from as wide a talent pool as possible. That's how Canada can make full use of the competitive advantage granted to us by the extraordinary diversity of our population. When we say diversity is our strength, we truly need to take advantage of that.
Also on the idea of inclusion, we've taken steps to bridge the digital divide. In today's modern age, it is critical that all Canadians have access to the Internet.
In particular, Canadians in rural and northern regions need better access to high-speed Internet.
Improved broadband connectivity can unlock tremendous economic potential, leading to the creation of new jobs, products, and businesses. I know this issue is of interest to committee members, and I've had many of you reach out to me about this. I'm pleased to let you know that very soon we will be launching Connect to Innovate, a $500-million investment that will extend high-speed Internet service to rural and remote communities.
We know that inclusion and diversity mean casting a broad net in our search for talent. We recently announced Canada's global skills strategy as part of our fall economic update. Again, this is something that we heard consistently when we engaged Canadians on the innovation agenda. The number one issue was talent and people, and this is one recommendation that we heard loud and clear. This strategy is a key part of the innovation agenda. It will make it faster and easier for Canadian firms to attract the best and brightest from around the world.
The global talent can drive innovation and help Canadian firms to grow and prosper, leading to more jobs. That's a key element. This initiative will help create more Canadian jobs.
I am excited to be working with my colleague, the , on this important initiative.
Mr. Chair, I'm also aware that the committee has been engaged in a study of Canada's evolving manufacturing sector. I look forward to receiving your report. I know a lot of hard work and effort has been put into that initiative. We really look forward to the recommendations you will be presenting. I note with interest that the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters have set the ambitious target of doubling Canada's manufacturing output and value-added exports within 15 years.
The government stands ready to be a meaningful partner to strengthen this foundational sector.
Rest assured that the innovation agenda will address many of the challenges faced by the manufacturing sector in today's global and digital economy. The innovation agenda will make the most of partnerships with universities and colleges to advance research and development. It will enable the commercialization of promising research into new products and services. It will work with industry to make skills and training a priority.
In the year ahead, my officials and I will work with Canadians to finalize and implement the innovation agenda.
We will also act on our commitment to reinforce the independence of Statistics Canada. We have already reinstated the mandatory long-form census, a decision that was received with great enthusiasm by Canadians. The 2016 census results reflect that enthusiasm, with an unprecedented response rate of 97.8%.
We will also continue to work with our regional development agencies to make strategic investments that diversify and strengthen the economies of each part of this great country. As well, we will continue to support key sectors that drive economic growth and innovation.
Mr. Chair, colleagues, I am proud to serve a government that listens to Canadians and responds to their needs.
As a government we embrace a partnership-driven approach to innovation. I think the results we have achieved during our first year point to the effectiveness of this approach.
As per our last budget, one of the key investments we made as part of our overall innovation agenda, as part of our overall demonstration that we want to step up our game when it comes to building the partnership model that I talked about in my concluding remarks, was to create a better collaborative environment with our universities, and colleges, and academic institutions from coast to coast to coast. We introduced a $2-billion strategic investment fund that you alluded to and that I was fortunate to make some local announcements on in the Sault. It was really well received by the college and university, and by the aboriginal community.
The objective of that fund is not only to make these investments, but also to leverage the provinces and territories, and the institutions. The hope is that $2 billion actually turns into $4 billion when it's properly leveraged from across different levels of government across the country.
The objective of that, again, is to help create world-class facilities to really help focus on areas where we can innovate and to create an environment where Canadian students have some of the best opportunities to learn in a state-of-the-art facility where they do research. This will allow us the ability to attract some top talent from around the globe as well. That's what I was talking about in terms of the global skills strategy.
Also, the benefit with that is the short-term jobs created with infrastructure, so as you put a shovel in the ground and you make these investments, that will create short-term jobs as well. It also creates an environment to focus on areas around STEM, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, where we can create long-term jobs as well. The objective of this initiative was to make sure that not only do we make these investments, but they will be complete by 2018.
The original allocation of the funding of this $2 billion was $494 million in the first year, $1.25 billion in the second year, and $245 million in the third year. Because we work very closely, and we have a really good working relationship with our provinces and territories, we had to adjust the program funding profile to $744 million in the first year. That includes the supplementary estimate numbers that you see here, plus what was in supplementary estimates (A). When you combine the two, that's roughly $744 million in the first year, and $995 million in the second year, and we're still maintaining our target for the third year at $245 million.
This again speaks to the fact that we have a program that's really well received by the academic institutions. We have a really good working relationship with the provinces and territories. We're getting the money out in a timely manner to create jobs. We're also strengthening our academic institutions to help Canadians who are studying domestically, and to allow us to attract some of the best and brightest, which is so critical in terms of the talent piece of our innovation agenda.
That is a clear gap that we have.
We're really good if you look at the innovation ecosystem. If you look at the innovation pipeline, we're really good at basic research, and that's very important. We could do better, and I have a feeling that my colleague, Minister Duncan, will speak eloquently to that.
We're really good at coming up with ideas, but the challenge is how we commercialize those ideas. Too often, the case is that individuals, for example, who come up with the ideas, are also responsible for the marketing plan or the business plan. They should be focusing primarily on the innovation and the invention and the solution, and not necessarily on figuring out the business and the marketing plan. That's the challenge that we've had.
We, as a government, obviously have taken many initiatives to support, through the strategic investment fund, as an example. How we can create an ecosystem of start-up companies to help them commercialize?
One area that I must confess we ought to do better in, and we're not going better, is helping to scale up companies and helping those commercial ideas become global champions. That's an area we are working at, looking at. We will provide some solutions in that area, but with regard to commercialization, clearly there is a gap there when it comes to the innovation agenda.
One of the things the has really done effectively is he's really changed the tone, the tenor of this place. He's really created a sense of collaboration. To highlight that point, as I mentioned in my remarks, for the first time in 12 years, I met with my provincial and territorial counterparts to create a table on innovation and economic development. So much effort is put forward by the different provinces and territories around skills development, on infrastructure, on how to deploy broadband initiatives.
We have to do a better job of aligning that. That spirit of co-operation is reflected overall with all the jurisdictions, but I must confess there's a really unique model that we have in Atlantic Canada. That model really speaks to not only the ministers I work with directly but also the premiers. Along with my 32 MPs, again, regardless of their political affiliation in Atlantic Canada, I've actually worked with all of them, including the four ministers, to put forward an Atlantic growth strategy.
This is really a partnership with the premiers of the different provinces to focus on areas of growth and what we can do to better align our resources and better grow the economy in those regions. One area that was identified by businesses and governments was immigration. I know that immigration has a different lens or perspective across the country, but particularly in Atlantic Canada, they are looking for immigration, obviously for population purposes. It's an aging population; it's potential customers. Immigration is such a key element of the economic plan going forward, and how we retain immigrants in Atlantic Canada.
Along with my colleague the , we launched a pilot project. It's a project that, again, as part of the Atlantic growth strategy, would speak to how businesses can step up, and government would help facilitate, and bring forward new Canadians, immigrants to Canada, to really help make those business investments, to deal with challenges in the job market or labour market, and to provide more support for the aging population in that area.
That's a really clear example of how the provinces, the federal government, and businesses have come together to tackle a very important issue. I must confess, and I don't want to say too much in advance, that hopefully in January we'll be launching other initiatives as part of the Atlantic growth strategy to really highlight that partnership.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the committee for the invitation. I'm pleased to be here in front of your esteemed committee.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak today about my mandate and what is being done to strengthen science in our country.
I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues here from ISED, and our deputy minister and associate deputy minister.
Mr. Chair, last November, the asked me to take the lead on supporting research in the integration of scientific consideration into our policy choices. The Prime Minister wrote that support for science is an essential pillar in our strategy to create sustainable economic growth and to grow the middle class.
For starters, we have made it clear that government scientists can and should speak freely about their work to the media and to the public.
Last May, I worked with my colleague and Treasury Board president, Scott Brison, on releasing a new government communications policy. The policy is clear: subject-matter experts, including scientists, can speak publicly about their work without being officially designated to do so. To ensure that federal science is fully available to the public, we are establishing a chief science officer position. We will launch this search in the near future. What's more, we're breaking down the silos that prevent federal scientists from sharing their knowledge with each other as they advance shared goals, whether action on climate change, antimicrobial resistance, Arctic science, food security, or the whole-of-government innovation agenda.
To help accomplish this, I met with deputy ministers from science-based departments and agencies at a first-ever retreat this summer. I stressed to them the need to promote greater integration across portfolios, and I am very encouraged by our progress to date. Our three federal granting councils, as well, are key players in the scientific ecosystem: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The first two councils support nearly 50,000 researchers and research trainees.
Also funded through the science portfolio are the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Genome Canada, which support research infrastructure and large-scale genomics projects, respectively. To date, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has provided support to about 9,300 projects at 145 research institutions in 70 municipalities across Canada. Last year, more than 26,000 students and post-doctoral fellows used CFl-funded infrastructure to expand their research skills. What's more, our premier federal research organization, the National Research Council, is also having a profound impact on the research community. Last year, it saw 224 patents filed and 162 patents issued. Eleven Nobel Prize winners have worked at the NRC at one time or another. It lays claim to international breakthroughs in such fields as nuclear medicine, cardiology technology, crop science, and computer animation. This is only a sample of the NRC's work, and I am very proud to have it under my mandate.
We are also making real investments that will improve scientific capacity in all federal departments.
With more than 20,000 scientists and professionals engaged in federal S and T activities, there is a lot of room for collaboration and innovation within the federal government. For example, last May I worked with the Minister of Fisheries to announce a $197-million investment that will help us make more informed decisions about our oceans, waterways, and fisheries.
That same investment is creating 135 new jobs in federal science, the single largest recruitment ever toward restoring ocean science.
Mr. Chair, science is essential to Canada's innovation agenda.
The ability of our country to compete and prosper depends on the creativity and talent of our people. To that end, in June, I launched a panel review of federal support for science to ensure the funding we provide is strategic and effective. I expect to receive the panel's recommendations in the new year. We are also promoting increased collaboration between researchers and companies, and encouraging more co-op and internship opportunities.
At the same time, we have rolled out a number of funding initiatives to boost our academic strengths. These include $2 billion for research and innovation infrastructure across post-secondary institutions; $95 million per year to the granting councils to support discovery research, the largest increase in a decade; and $900 million for transformational research projects under the Canada first research excellence fund.
In October, I also launched a competition for 11 Canada excellence research chairs, at least two of which will be in clean and sustainable technologies.
Just last week, I announced a $12-million federal investment in the stem cell network to support research in up-and-coming areas of regenerative medicine. Investments like these also transform our understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to stem cells.
Investments like these are key when you're trying to develop and implement sound public policies.
All of this is in keeping with our government's commitment to evidence-based decision-making and promoting Canada's leadership on the international stage.
To this end, I've also taken part in several high-level meetings in China, Japan, Belgium, and Germany to promote Canadian science, to see what other countries are doing well, and to build new science partnerships. In September, I attended a White House ministerial meeting on Arctic science.
In all of these places, people are eager to know about Canada, about our vision, our openness, and our plan for the future. That plan involves creating opportunity for researchers, especially for women, indigenous peoples, and other under-represented groups.
Diversity is an important factor in the creative potential of individuals, organizations, and nations.
That is why we absolutely must take action to remove the barriers preventing women from pursuing careers in science.
To this end, we have reinstated the UCASS, that's the university and college academic staff survey, which will inform policy decisions that concern university researchers and faculty.
Moreover, in the 2016 Canada excellence research chairs competition, we have instituted new requirements that will strengthen the equity and diversity of the program.
Mr. Chairman, from the Arctic to marine biology to quantum computing, and from food security to regenerative medicine, one thing is constant. Canada's world-leading research is fuelled by incredible talent, openness, and diversity.
As we advance the innovation agenda, science will play a prominent role in our decision-making and our investment choices.
I look forward to building on the momentum of what we have accomplished in the past year.