Budget 2021 Bolsters Canada’s Bio-Economy and Genomics on a Mission
April 20, 2021
Funding announced in Budget 2021 will significantly advance Canadian bioscience research and innovation, accelerating ground-breaking missions in critical public health areas like pandemic surveillance and precision medicine in the clinic, while delivering made-in-Canada solutions to anti-microbial resistance, food security and biomanufacturing.
The federal government announced $400 million for a new Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy, including $136.7 million for Genome Canada to kickstart the Strategy, with further investments to be announced in the future. The budget recognized the key role genomics plays in developing cutting-edge therapeutics and in helping Canada track and fight COVID-19. It recognizes that Canada is a global leader in the field and that genomics can improve Canadians’ health and wellbeing while also creating good jobs and economic growth. Leveraging and commercializing this advantage will give Canadian companies, researchers, and workers a competitive edge in this growing field.
Genome Canada has been responsible for Canada’s genomics research strategy for 20 years and has been a national partner in Canada’s COVID-19 response, leading the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN). The funding announced today will enable us to build on this foundation and fuel our mission to collaborate with the regional Genome Centres and other ecosystem partners to develop new knowledge, tools, technologies, data assets and talent to strengthen Canada’s pathogen surveillance, fight anti-microbial resistance, protect Canada’s food supply and exports in a changing climate, deliver precision health, and prime Canadian biomanufacturing capacity.
Today’s announcement included excellent news for Canada’s long-term sustainable economic growth in biomanufacturing and the life sciences, with a total of $2.2 billion over seven years going toward growing life sciences, building up Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, and supporting life sciences organizations.
Genome Canada welcomes other investments that will strengthen Canada’s research, innovation and talent ecosystem and drive economic growth in sectors of the future, including:
- $500 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bio-science capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals;
- $250 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund;
- $250 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to implement a new Clinical Trials Fund;
- $92 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for adMare to support company creation, scale up, and training activities in the life sciences sector;
- $59.2 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to support the development of its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon;
- $45 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research; and
- $708 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to Mitacs to create at least 85,000 work-integrated learning placements that provide on-the-job learning and provide businesses with support to develop talent and grow.
The visionary support announced in Budget 2021 puts Canada on competitive footing with other G7 nations that have made major investments in research and innovation to drive high-value growth sectors, while placing bio-innovation at the heart of their COVID-19 recoveries. Genome Canada looks forward to leading the new Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy and to working with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and other partners on the strategic investments announced today.
“To solve complex global problems, such as a worldwide pandemic and climate change, we need transdisciplinary approaches. The life sciences will play significant roles within such an approach. The funding announced today will be instrumental in driving Genome Canada’s mission to be Canada’s genomics platform for future pandemic preparedness, its capacity for biomanufacturing, and its bio-economy overall.”
– Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada
“Genome Canada’s mission-based approach is translating research into impact. The renewal of its funding and the biomanufacturing strategy announced by the federal government today will enable the organization to take major steps forward in genomics-driven research and innovation and carry out its vision to tackle big problems with big science.”
— Dr. Elizabeth Douville, Chair, Genome Canada Board of Directors
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