Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank the committee for having us. It's an honour and privilege to be appearing today. Like my colleague Minister Bains, I'm really looking forward to working with you all.
Before I start, I'd like to acknowledge my colleagues Minister Bains and Minister Chagger, as well as John Knubley and Kelly Gillis, with whom we have the privilege of working.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak today on the occasion of the tabling of the main estimates.
Mr. Chair, I am part of a government, and part of a team within Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, that believes in science. We know that science and empirical evidence must inform government decision-making.
It is not common for a team to open its playbook to the public, Mr. Chair, but that is just what we did in sharing our mandate letters. We want to change the tone of how we communicate and interact with Canadians by being more open and transparent. Of course, there's no better example of openness than our immediate action to allow federal researchers and scientists to discuss their work. As Minister Bains said, our first announcement was to reinstate the long-form census, and the next announcement was to allow our federal scientists to speak freely.
But there is so much more to our commitment to science. Just take, for example, Budget 2016.
Budget 2016 invests up to $2 billion to improve our research and innovation infrastructure at colleges, universities, and polytechnics. There's an additional $95 million per year to the granting councils to support discovery research. I'm proud to say that this is the highest amount of new annual funding for this purpose in over a decade.
To ensure that federal support for research, including through the granting councils, is strategic and effective, budget 2016 announces that I will undertake a comprehensive review of all elements of federal support for fundamental science over the coming year. The review will ensure that the full spectrum of research, from basic to applied, is balanced and is fully supported. Our goal is to ensure that investments in science are strategic, effective, meet the needs of Canada, and meet the needs of our research community.
We will also be establishing a new chief science officer position. This position will be key to ensuring that scientific analyses are considered when the government makes decisions and that the work of government scientists is openly communicated. This is a top priority of mine. I have conducted significant consultations within the research community, sought views from all members of Parliament, and examined best practices. I will be providing advice to the Prime Minister, and hope to be launching a search for the chief science officer within the next few months.
Mr. Chair, as per budget 2016, I will also work with Minister Bains to establish two new Canada excellence research chairs in clean and sustainable technologies. To ensure that youth pursue careers in STEM, in science, technology, engineering and math, the budget commits $73 million to help employers create more co-op placements for students in these important areas.
You will also see us focusing on encouraging the participation of under-represented populations, including women and indigenous peoples.
In budget 2016, we also committed to supporting Canadian leadership in genomics by investing $237 million for genomics research and applications through Genome Canada. From space and brain science to clean technology, stem cell, and climate change research, and so much more, we are delivering on our mandate and supporting a real innovation culture in this country.
The Prime Minister made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our policy agenda in a renewed sense of collaboration.
This will involve a large degree of teamwork and partnerships. We will work with other members of the cabinet, with provinces and territories, with foreign governments and international forums, and of course, with Canada's excellent universities, colleges, polytechnics, and non-profit research organizations.
Science plays a central role in a thriving, clean economy and in providing evidence for sound policy decisions. To be successful in a highly competitive global economy, Canada must continue to attract and development highly qualified, talented people performing world-leading research and generating new breakthrough ideas.
We believe that Budget 2016 represents a great step forward in achieving these goals.
To my colleagues here, again, I thank you for having us and I look forward to your questions.