The Government of Canada’s Budget 2021 contained welcome news for universities, according to Memorial President Vianne Timmons.
“The support provided for students, research and Indigenous education in yesterday’s budget announcement will have a positive impact for Memorial,” she said.
Particular highlights for students include the support for the Student Work Placement Program to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students; the doubling of the Canada Student Grants program for an additional two years; and the expanded access to support for students with disabilities.
“We know that experiential learning deepens student understanding and allows them to apply their academic knowledge within their chosen field,” Dr. Timmons said.
“The funding in Budget 2021 will help our students graduate with relevant work experience while the support for the Canada Student Grants program and students with disabilities will help ensure post-secondary education remains accessible.”
The investment to help build Canada’s life sciences and bio-manufacturing capacity and to expand expertise in artificial intelligence and quantum research will create new opportunities for researchers and graduate students.
“Specific funding to help inform action and address social disparities will help make every community stronger.”
Dr. Timmons particularly welcomes the funding for academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups.
“COVID-19 and social unrest over the last year have pulled back the curtain on the deep systemic challenges that racialized, LGBTQ+, Indigenous and disabled Canadians face. Specific funding to help inform action and address social disparities will help make every community stronger.”
President Timmons also welcomes the commitment to increase funding for Indigenous post-secondary education.
“Education is clearly identified as a pathway towards reconciliation.”
“Education is clearly identified as a pathway towards reconciliation and the additional funding in Budget 2021 for Indigenous education is necessary to move this forward,” she said.
“Memorial is also taking concrete steps towards Indigenization and decolonizing – the recently approved Strategic Framework for Indigenization outlines how we will do it.”
Investment, not expenditure
Sophie D’Amours is president of Université Laval and chair of Universities Canada, a group that advances higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. Memorial is a member.
She says the budget’s biggest commitment has been made to students.
“Universities are playing a key role in economic and social renewal as we emerge from the pandemic,” Ms. D’Amours said.
“There is no doubt that universities have delivered creatively on their mission, doing so under increasing pressure. This needs to be underscored because for students to succeed and become the problem-solvers and leaders of tomorrow, universities must be strong.”
Dr. Timmons echoes the role of universities in supporting economic and social renewal.
“Memorial is an investment, not an expenditure. As Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university, we are proud of our unique ability to support the economic, social and cultural development of this province. Budget 2021 will support students and help us continue to meet the needs of the people of this province and beyond.”