Thank you, Chair. I appreciate that welcome.
Good morning, committee members and honourable colleagues. It is indeed a pleasure to be here again with you to answer questions and share information about the science and technology issues as they relate to my portfolio and the main estimates. Given that my portfolio also includes the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, I'm more than happy to speak to you about the overall efforts in that regard as well.
Since 2006, our government has provided more than nine billion new dollars in new resources to support science, technology, and business innovation. This funding has helped to make Canada a world leader in post-secondary education research and to create the knowledge and highly skilled workforce that businesses require. We continue to work in this regard as well to innovate and create even more high-value jobs.
Economic action plan 2013, the latest budget, builds on this foundation, helping to position Canada for stability and long-term economic prosperity, as well as a higher quality of life for Canadians, while again sticking to our promise of keeping taxes low for families and businesses and balancing the budget by 2015.
We are working to strengthen Canada's world-class research talent through such programs as the Vanier Canada graduate scholarships, the Banting post-doctoral fellowships, and the Canada excellence research chairs programs, and many others. The economic action plan further strengthens our advanced research capacity by providing another ongoing $37 million in new annual support for research partnerships with industry through the granting councils.
We are strengthening research infrastructure as well, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. As you know, the 2013 budget allocates $225 million to support new competitions and cyber infrastructure and to sustain its operations, as well as to deliver programs that enhance collaboration and partnerships between the private and public sectors. Programs such as the centres of excellence for commercialization and research, the business-led networks of centres of excellence, the industrial research and development internships, and the college and community innovation programs all aim to build industry-academic connections that we know will lead to new products and processes in the marketplace.
As well, let me take this opportunity to highlight some of the findings in the recent Council of Canadian Academies report on the state of Canada's science and technology enterprise as it currently exists. The report concluded that Canadian science and technology is healthy and growing in both output and impact, with Canada being the only G-7 country to have achieved an increase above the world average in the number of scientific papers produced between 2005 and 2010.
The report also notes that there has been a net migration of researchers into Canada. This is probably the most profound and irrefutable evidence that our strategy here in Canada is working and that we should continue, so of course budget 2013 focuses on the drivers of growth and job creation, which include innovation, investment, education, skills, and healthy communities. This approach promotes business innovation through improved support for high-growth companies, research collaborations, procurement opportunities, applied research, risk financing, and so on.
Those measures include: $121 million over two years for the National Research Council to help continue its transformation; $20 million over three years for a National Research Council industrial research assistance program pilot project initiative to help small businesses access the research capacity and services at our post-secondary institutions and at not-for-profit research institutions of their choice; $325 million over eight years to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to continue support for the development and the demonstration of new clean technologies that can create efficiencies in businesses and help them with their bottom lines as well as contribute, obviously, to a cleaner environment and more sustainable economic development; $60 million over five years to help high-potential incubators and accelerators; a new entrepreneurship award that celebrates Canadian entrepreneurs; and $18 million over two years to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to help young entrepreneurs.
Significant investments, obviously, in budget 2013 are also targeted toward human health and genomics, a very exciting basic research area, skills training, manufacturing, the aerospace and space sectors, infrastructure, and I could go on and on.
Given the level of business expenditures on research, science, and development, we want businesses to pursue innovation-based strategies that encourage them to increase their investments in machinery and equipment and help them gain access to highly skilled personnel and be more globally competitive. Our recent action plan 2013 included many new measures to do exactly that.
In addition to the science and tech portfolio, I am honoured to be the Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. This agency has been around a few years and in my view has made incredible efforts within southern Ontario to effectively support growth and long-term prosperity.
As you might know, southern Ontario, the area we work in, has approximately 12 million people, about 36% of the population of Canada. It is the heart of Canada's commercial core and does have incredible potential to create long-term success. Of course, the agency has funded hundreds and hundreds of projects in southern Ontario in this regard, but the agency is not just working with money. We are advocates for the region, conveners, and we are bringing together stakeholders, focusing on clusters, collaborations, and partnerships, building critical mass, again to get that edge on global competitiveness.
Some of the programs we have—and I'll be very brief—the applied research and commercialization initiative, for instance, have facilitated the development of hundreds of partnerships between the post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario and businesses. In fact, 560 businesses have been involved with students who get the added benefit of a real world educational experience.
We have put forward the prosperity initiative to help target investments to advance key economic growth in southern Ontario, including advanced manufacturing, digital media, green construction, and green automotive. I will give you another quick example of what this has done. We've made a significant investment in Western University's Fraunhofer Project Centre and Centre for Commercialization of Advanced Manufacturing Technology.
These centres will create opportunities literally for hundreds of businesses to collaborate with our educational institutions and not-for-profits to support global competitiveness coming out of southern Ontario in sectors, frankly, that are in the aerospace, defence, construction, medical devices, composite light-weight materials—another very exciting area of potential—automotive, and renewable energy sectors.
The facility itself will represent North America's premier hub for the development, validation, and industrial-scale testing of new advanced manufacturing materials and products.
We've also taken it upon ourselves to create a sense of curiosity for the next generation of business leaders with our youth STEM program. The folks involved in that have reached about 1.1 million kids in southern Ontario to get them stirred up about science and mathematics.
In our scientists and engineers in business initiative, we invested up to $7.5 million in this one project, VentureStart. VentureStart is a partnership of 12 research innovation centres throughout southern Ontario of course. It has already delivered entrepreneurship training to 128 highly qualified graduates, as well as provided mentoring support and seed financing for 88 new start-up businesses, and that's so far.
By the end of March 2014, VentureStart tells me they are online to fund 224 start-up businesses. Through other programs like investing in business innovation we're boosting private sector investment. This is an angel venture capital program to help businesses quickly bring their new ideas to market. We've been able to have significant leverage in this regard. I can tell you that the angel network in southern Ontario has grown from about 250 angels to well over 800 as a result of this program.
There are a suite of programs I'm happy to talk about, but mainly they fit under what we call the southern Ontario advantage initiatives. Under that suite of programs, we've invested more than $420 million in funding, resulting in partnerships with more than 5,000 organizations, and over $1.2 billion of additional funds leveraged for these investments—and those are almost exclusively non-governmental sources—as well as over $2 billion in a boost to the GDP.
In closing, Mr. Chair, I am pleased that economic action plan 2013 provides an additional $920 million over five years, which is basically renewing FedDev Ontario. This will start in April 2014 with $200 million of this renewal support to be allocated for the delivery of a new advanced manufacturing fund in Ontario.
The government's renewed commitment to the agency is clearly based on its success in creating jobs and increasing the productivity and competitiveness of southern Ontario.
There is still obviously a great depth of potential in the region, and I look forward to witnessing future successes in our incredible communities, forecasting great growth for them, for the nation, as well as continuing to grow the science and tech sector in Canada.
Mr. Chair, thank you for this time. I look forward to answering any questions the members may have with regard to my portfolio.