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September 27, 2011
Q1. What is the Knowledge Infrastructure Program?
A. The Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus plan to revitalize facilities at our universities, Cegeps and colleges, was introduced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. New buildings are being constructed and existing facilities are receiving much needed upgrades. The program has two components:
- the university component gives preference to projects that improve the quality of research and development at the institution; and
- the college component supports projects at other post-secondary institutions including colleges, publicly-funded polytechnic schools and institutes of technology that strengthen their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.
The funds from federal sources will cover up to half (50%) of the overall project costs, leveraging an equivalent amount from non-federal partners.
Q2. How many projects is the Knowledge Infrastructure Program supporting?
A. Since being announced in Budget 2009, the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) has approved 538 projects throughout Canada. The $2 billion project has also leveraged an additional $3 billion in provincial, territorial and private investments, bringing the total investment in post-secondary infrastructure to $5 billion.
Q3. What kind of work does KIP support?
A. KIP supports renovation, repair or maintenance projects as well as new construction or expansion projects. A significant number of projects (70) involve both renovation and new construction. There were far more projects that strictly involve renovation, repair or maintenance (363) than those that strictly involve new construction projects (105). However, the average new construction project cost was much more than the typical renovation cost and as a result new construction projects amount for a greater share of the overall KIP budget.
Q4. How has the program supported universities and colleges?
A. The program approved 538 projects at 241 colleges and universities throughout Canada. Of the 538 KIP projects,194 were at universities while 344 were at colleges and Cegeps.
Associations representing universities and colleges in Canada had indicated that a major portion of the existing campus infrastructure at Canadian universities and colleges did not adequately meet the research and advanced training needs. By accelerating repairs, maintenance and new construction projects with the support of the program, Canadian universities and colleges are now better positioned to attract the world’s brightest researchers and students. These new and enhanced facilities supported by KIP are providing a better educational experience for the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.
Q5. What is the proportional funding allocation between colleges and universities?
A. Universities were awarded 65% of the total funding available under KIP while the remaining 35% went to colleges and Cegeps. The proportions are reversed in terms of the number of projects, with universities accounting for 36% (194 projects). The average KIP investment at a university was $6.6 million while the average for a college/Cegep was under $2.0 million.
Q6. Did the $2 billion investment address all the infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions across Canada?
A. The program rapidly approved 538 projects at 241 colleges and universities which included projects in every province and territory throughout Canada. There were over 400 additional projects that could not be supported by the $2 billion program budget. The total demand from all proposals to the program exceeded $5 billion.
Q7. Was there any guarantee that the funds would be distributed fairly across all regions of Canada?
A. There were no provincial or territorial funding allocations under the KIP. Project funding was awarded, on the basis of an assessment of readiness and eligibility, to over 500 projects at over 200 institutions with every province and territory in Canada represented.
Q8. Did KIP meet the Government objective of swift implementation?
A. There were very ambitions timelines for the implementation of KIP. The program was launched on March 9, 2009 and set the due date for proposals a mere three weeks later. Universities and colleges across Canada proved they were more than up to the challenge, submitting 944 proposals.
By June 2009, KIP funding of nearly $1.8 billion (90% of the program budget) had been announced for projects at universities and colleges across Canada. By October, the entire $2 billion fund had been allocated. The high quality and volume of proposals submitted by universities and colleges under tight timelines made this possible.
As a result, in its review of the rollout of all the infrastructure programs under the Economic Action Plan, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada cited KIP as an “example of speedy implementation” and noted in the Fall 2010 report “the total time (Industry Canada) needed to design, review, and approve programs was reduced from the approximately six months normally required to two months.”
Q9. How were the projects chosen?
A. In order to enhance long-term competitiveness and innovation capacity in Canada, the program supported projects that improved the quality of research and development at universities and strengthened the ability of colleges to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training. Proposals were assessed according to their ability to quickly generate economic activity as well as meet the program’s mandate for longer-term benefits.
Q10. How were you able to ensure due diligence in assessing projects that would receive taxpayer dollars?
A. Post-secondary institutions had indicated a substantial backlog of deferred maintenance and expansion projects. In many cases, planning for these projects was well advanced, at the time that the program was announced, with funding considerations one of the last remaining barriers to the start of construction. Universities, colleges and Cegeps were therefore able to quickly provide detailed project plans soon after the program was launched.
Utilizing the detailed submissions, projects were assessed against several key readiness criteria (e.g., whether regulatory approvals were in place, whether projects were ready for tender). Projects were also assessed against criteria designed to determine the extent to which projects would improve the quality of research at universities and strengthen the ability of colleges to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.
Industry Canada worked closely with provincial and territorial governments to identify the top priority projects that would receive funding. In most provinces and territories, there are established processes in place to identify and prioritize infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions, and this knowledge and expertise was taken into consideration in jointly finalizing project selection.
Q11. How are you able to flow funding quickly but still ensure effective and well-coordinated project monitoring?
A. The program established partnerships with provincial and territorial governments to monitor projects funded under the program, to build on their existing capacity and experience in monitoring such investments. Institutions reported on the progress of their projects every three months to ensure timely monitoring and tracking. When needed, these reports were supplemented by more frequent intelligence gathering on projects. The federal government initiated ongoing correspondence with the provincial and territorial governments, directly with institutions, as well as with various university and college associations, to emphasize the timely implementation of and effective reporting on projects.
Q12. What are the long term benefits of the program?
A. When submitting proposals, institutions identified the expected benefits of each project. Benefits across the more than 500 KIP projects are effectively captured in five categories:
- Expands or enhances the utility of Research and Development space
- Expands or enhances the utility of training space
- Improves energy efficiency
- Upgrades the health and safety aspects of facilities
- Develops incubation facilities for industry and research
Q13. How will the program benefit Canadians in the long term?
A. Support for science and technology is a key component of the Government of Canada’s strategy for building a strong economy that provides quality jobs and higher living standards for families. By accelerating repairs, maintenance and construction at universities and colleges, the government not only provided a short-term boost to the economy, but also enhanced the research and training capacity of our post-secondary institutions. These new and enhanced facilities are able to support leading-edge research, drive innovation, support the development of breakthrough technologies, and build a highly-skilled workforce.
Q14. Were any additional funds included in KIP projects?
A. Each project supported by KIP leveraged at least a matching amount from other sources. Provinces, territories and other sources contributed a total of more than $3 billion to approved KIP projects, in addition to the Government of Canada’s contribution of nearly $2 billion, resulting in more than $5 billion in total spending as a result on KIP projects.
Q15. What if a project is not completed by the new deadline?
A. Most infrastructure projects under KIP were completed by the original program deadline of March 31, 2011. The Government of Canada extended the deadline for the program to Oct. 31, 2011 to support the completion of remaining projects and to continue to create jobs. The progress of these projects is being tracked carefully. No new funding was allocated as a result of the extension. The program cannot fund any share of costs incurred on projects beyond the October 31, 2011 deadline. Costs incurred beyond the deadline are the sole responsibility of the project proponent.
Q16. Is there additional funding available as a result of the extension to the program?
A. No additional funding was available for new projects as the Government did not introduced any new spending as part of the extension.
Q17. Will the KIP be a permanent program?
A. No, KIP was part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and was designed to be a temporary program that would provide short-term economic stimulus while accelerating repairs, maintenance and construction priorities at universities, colleges and cegeps.
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