Minister of Industry Launches $2 Billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program

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HALIFAX, March 9, 2009 — The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today launched the Knowledge Infrastructure Program,a two-year $2-billion measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions, including universities and community colleges, across Canada. The program will promote employment and provide economic stimulus, and create jobs for engineers, architects, tradespeople and technicians. It will also generate the advanced technological infrastructure needed to keep Canada's research and educational facilities at the forefront of scientific advancement.

“This initiative to renew Canada's colleges and universities will provide significant short-term economic stimulus to communities across the country and will put many Canadians to work,” said Minister Clement. “Investing in leading-edge facilities will also enable these institutions to attract, train and retain the highly skilled researchers of the future.”

“The Government of Canada is investing in innovation to create jobs, help our economy recover quickly and improve the quality of life for Canadians,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “The renewal of college and university facilities will encourage more world-class researchers to work in Canada and give them the tools they need to make more discoveries that will benefit Canadians and people around the world.”

In order to ensure that Knowledge Infrastructure Program funding is delivered efficiently, Minister Clement and Minister of State Goodyear have written to the provincial and territorial governments, universities and community colleges to ask them to submit their post-secondary infrastructure priority projects. The first round of project submissions is due by March 30, 2009; these can be directed to the Government of Canada or through a provincial list for consideration. Projects could be announced as early as April 2009.

The Government of Canada will provide up to 50 percent of the eligible costs for selected projects, with the balance to come from provincial and territorial governments, the charitable sector, the private sector, or the post-secondary institutions themselves. In the case of federally run institutions, such as those accredited by a First Nations government, up to 100 percent of project funding may be provided by the Government of Canada.

Projects chosen to receive federal funding will be selected based on project readiness, including the ability to start work quickly on the project, the generation of economic activity and job creation, the project's enhancement of research capacity, and its ability to provide for a better educational experience for our next generation of researchers.

Canada's Economic Action Plan sets out to stimulate the Canadian economy over the next two years and to improve our long-term competitiveness through $12 billion in new infrastructure investment, which includes the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program. This new support is the next substantive investment in the Government of Canada's multi-year Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage.

For more information about the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, including program criteria and application instructions, please visit www.ic.gc.ca/knowledge-infrastructure.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Pema Lhalungpa
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502

Gary Toft
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
613-943-7599


March 9, 2009

Backgrounder
Knowledge Infrastructure Program

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada.

The Program will provide funding to support deferred maintenance, repair and expansion projects at universities and colleges, and responds directly to the need indicated by post-secondary institutions to improve existing campus infrastructure across the country. A major portion of this infrastructure is near the end of its projected lifecycle and often does not adequately meet the needs of today's research and teaching activities.

The Program has two components. The university component gives preference to projects that can improve the quality of research and development at the institution. The college component supports projects at other post-secondary institutions, such as colleges, publicly funded polytechnic schools, and institutes of technology, which will strengthen their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.

Investments made through the Program will not only generate economic benefits and support job creation, they will enhance research capacity, support the attraction of new students and provide a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.

The Program will also have an important positive net impact on the environment by reducing energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving waste management at universities and colleges across Canada.

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is part of the $12‑billion Government of Canada stimulus package announced in the January 2009 Economic Action Plan, in which the government committed $5.1 billion for science and technology initiatives — one of the single-largest federal budget investments in science and technology to date. These investments complement the more than $2.2 billion that the government has committed to new science and technology initiatives in the previous three budgets. Together, these investments improve the competitiveness of the Canadian economy, and the current and future quality of life for Canadians.

Knowledge infrastructure fund eligibility

Industry Canada will accept project proposals from provinces, territories and eligible post-secondary educational institutions. The Government of Quebec will work with colleges and universities in that province and notify the federal government of priority projects.

Projects will be assessed according to their ability to quickly and effectively generate economic activity and support job creation. Project readiness and economic impact are, therefore, key criteria used in project selection. Projects will also be assessed on their ability to enhance research capacity, support the attraction of new students and provide a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.

University Component

The Program gives preference to university projects that can improve the quality of research and development at the institution.

These include projects intended to improve the scale or quality of research and development1 facilities; and projects intended to improve the health and safety, environmental, or waste-management aspects of research and development facilities.

Examples of projects enhancing university research and development facilities include:

  • research laboratory renewals and upgrades to teaching laboratories;
  • the expansion of buildings to meet research and development program needs, growth needs, and research and development needs;
  • upgrades to building systems associated with research laboratories (such as improvements to electrical systems and to mechanical systems, including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, natural gas, and plumbing systems);
  • the enhancement of information technology services and data centre renewals and upgrades;
  • the renewal and expansion of office and meeting space for graduate students who are conducting research and development in the final stages of thesis preparation;
  • research library renewal and expansion;
  • research and development classroom renovations (such as renewing seats, finishes, sound and light);
  • the conversion of vacated space (e.g., a former library) to research and development space;
  • the conversion of old auditoriums / lecture halls into research and development space; and,
  • the renewal or expansion of research and development space for technology transfer offices, business incubators, and facilities supporting university-business collaboration.

Examples of projects enhancing the health and safety, environmental or waste-management aspects of university research and development facilities include:

  • the installation of new technologies and implementation of approaches for improved energy efficiency in laboratories and classrooms (such as the installation of energy efficient windows, lighting, pumps and motors, and the conversion of heating plant burners to cleaner, more efficient fuels);
  • asbestos removal, mould abatement and the installation of emergency systems to support existing research; and,
  • ensuring research and development and related teaching infrastructure meets current building and safety codes.

1 For the purposes of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, “science and technology” and “research and development” include disciplines in the natural sciences (the study of nature); the social sciences, humanities and health sciences (the study of human beings); and engineering (the creation and study of artefacts and systems).


College Component

The Program supports projects at colleges and other post-secondary institutions, including publicly funded polytechnic schools, institutes of technology and CEGEPs, which strengthen their institution's ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.

These include projects intended to improve the quality of teaching and training facilities or projects intended to improve the health and safety, environmental or waste-management aspects of teaching and training facilities.

Examples of projects intended to improve the quality of college teaching and training facilities include:

  • classroom and facility renewals and upgrades;
  • the expansion of buildings to meet teaching and training program and growth needs;
  • upgrades to building systems for facilities (such as improvements to electrical systems and to mechanical systems, including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, natural gas, and plumbing systems);
  • the enhancement of information technology services and data centre renewals and upgrades;
  • the renewal and expansion of office and meeting space for students;
  • library renewal and expansion;
  • classroom renovations (such has renewing seats, finishes, sound and light);
  • the renewal of vacated space (e.g., a former library);
  • the renewal of old auditoriums / lecture halls; and,
  • the renewal and expansion of incubation facilities for industry and research.

Examples of projects intended to improve the health and safety, environmental, or waste-management aspects of college teaching and training facilities include:

  • the installation of new technologies or implementation of approaches for improved energy efficiency in classrooms and facilities (such as the installation of energy efficient windows, lighting, pumps, and motors, and conversion of converting heating plant burners to cleaner, more efficient fuels);
  • asbestos removal, mould abatement and the installation of emergency systems; and,
  • ensuring existing facilities meet current building and safety codes.

Eligible Costs

The following project costs are eligible under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program:

  • the capital costs of constructing or renovating tangible capital assets, as defined and determined according to accounting principles generally accepted in Canada;
  • the costs of communication activities, project-related signage, lighting, project markings and utility adjustments;
  • the costs of engineering and environmental reviews;
  • planning and assessment costs, including costs for environmental planning, surveying, remedial activities, engineering, architectural supervision, testing and management consulting services; and,
  • recipient audit and evaluation costs.