OTTAWA – As Canada prepares for difficult economic times, today’s Fall Economic Statement could have done more to make smart investments in long-term growth by investing in Canada’s universities. Universities are home to the people and ideas that drive Canada’s prosperity and while we welcome measures from the government to support students in this difficult time, for students to succeed, our universities need to be strong.
Canada’s universities help attract the talent that Canada needs and this in turn attracts investment to Canada. Virtually every major new global investment in Canada since the pandemic has cited universities’ ability to provide top talent as a competitive advantage for Canada.
Universities are a smart investment as employers across the country face the worst talent crunch in generations. Canada cannot afford to fall behind in the global race for talent. To keep Canada competitive, the federal government should support research, fostering Canadian talent and maintaining Canada as a top destination for the brightest students and researchers around the globe.
Government must go beyond recognizing the rapid growth of research spending amongst competitor nations and enable them to advance friend-shoring in areas of research where Canada excels. Canada is falling behind other countries who are making significant investments in research. Canada’s overall expenditures on research and development amounted to only 1.7% of GDP in 2020, far behind the OECD average of 2.95% and the second lowest level in the G7. The federal government must renew support for the world-leading research being conducted at our universities if Canada’s economy is to remain globally competitive.
Canada’s universities are helping Canada navigate challenging economic headwinds and the big challenges of tomorrow. Investing in people and ideas is a smart choice for growth and unlocking the next level of Canada’s potential.
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Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.