OTTAWA, March 29, 2023 – Federal Budget 2023, A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future, makes important investments in public health care, advancing reconciliation, self-determination and prosperity for Indigenous Peoples and better health care data, but it ignores the critical research investments that underpin any chance of success on these fronts.
“In a budget which touts the successes of Canada’s economy and health care system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very disappointing that Canadian health research is left out entirely,” says Dr. Rose Goldstein, Chair of Research Canada and Professor of Medicine at McGill University. “Canada’s health research and innovation ecosystem played a critical role in achieving these successes. This is a missed opportunity for the federal government to recognize this and keep the promise of health research alive.”
Budget 2023 makes some important investments in health care and data, including $649 million in new funding for health care professionals, to help combat the opioid crisis, to support mental health, and to protect sexual and reproductive health. Budget 2023 also commits $7.3 billion to expand dental care for Canadians, including $23 million to support the collection of oral health data, and $849 million to support Indigenous health priorities.
“While Research Canada is pleased to see the government’s plans for much-needed investments in health,” says Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada, “without renewed investments in research and research talent, these investments will not have the impact Canadians deserve and need.”
“Even with the investments in research made in and since Budget 2018, rising inflation has resulted in Canada’s researchers being even further behind than we were five years ago,” says Dr. Tarik Möröy, Vice-Chair of Research Canada and Director of the Hematopoiesis and Cancer Research Unit at the Montréal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM). “High costs of living and dwindling research funding are driving away the world-class research talent that we desperately need to protect Canadians’ health and well-being.”
Budget 2023 also commits to careful consideration of the recently released recommendations made by the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, which included an annual increase of at least ten per cent to the base budgets of the granting councils. How much weight the federal government will give to these recommendations is yet to be seen.
Other investments include $108.6 million over three years to expand the College and Community Innovation Program, administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; $197.7 million in 2024-25 to the Student Work Placement Program; and $813.6 million to enhance financial assistance for students, including through Canada Student Grants and the Canada Student Loan.
Underinvestment in health research is driving away talented researchers and threatens Canada’s health security. Research Canada will continue to work with advocates and health research champions within government to convince decision makers that Canada needs to close the growing funding gap in health research for the benefit of every person living in Canada.
About Research Canada
Research Canada is a national alliance dedicated to increasing investments in health research through collaborative advocacy and engaging government, academia, industry and non-profit sectors to build support for long-term health research funding. For more information, visit rc-rc.ca.
– 30 –
Ms. Christie Tomkins
Manager of Policy and Public Affairs