Mr. Speaker, I will be respectful and mindful. I apologize.
The Prime Minister announced $5.8 billion in investments that will continue to build and renew infrastructure and on-reserve schools across the country. This unprecedented and historic investment in public infrastructure will ensure Canada's future economic growth for years to come.
The ability to invest such a substantial amount of funding in infrastructure is a direct result of the government's responsible actions to return to fiscal balance.
In the Prime Minister's announcement in November, $380 million was set aside for building or renovating federal laboratories in Canada, so that employees have access to state-of-the-art facilities to help create jobs and stimulate economic growth, all while improving their productivity.
In addition, economic action plan 2015 proposes to provide resources totalling $243.5 million over 10 years to enable Canadian access to and participation in the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. As announced by the Prime Minister on April 6, 2015, this funding is building on Canada's scientific leadership, securing a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the Thirty Meter Telescope in partnership with the United States, Japan, China, and India. This investment will help maintain Canadian scientific leadership in astronomy and will help Canadian companies create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across Canada.
Investments in science and technology must include investing in people. We want Canada to be a place where curiosity is encouraged, a place where our youth are inspired by science, technology, and innovation, a place where the world's best and brightest minds come to push the frontiers of knowledge and make groundbreaking technology advancements to help Canada succeed in the global economy.
Our government is very aware that it is important not only to perform world class research but also to communicate the results. That is why we are committed to ensuring that federally funded scientific research is shared widely with Canadians. We regularly promote and encourage media and public access to our scientists. We remain committed to promoting the great work of our scientists and staff and to raising awareness of the importance of science and technology in the lives of Canadians.
Government of Canada experts regularly answer calls from journalists and participate in public activities in which they introduce themselves and talk about their jobs. Furthermore, departments proactively work with Canadian and international media to write articles on these experts.
What is more, our government encourages scientists to share their findings by publishing articles and by conducting interviews with the media. Their findings are also shared at scientific conferences at home and abroad and are made widely available to other scientists, to Canadians, and to scientific communities around the world.
According to figures from the Observatoire des sciences et des technologies, Canadian federal departments and agencies have averaged over 4,000 publications in the natural sciences and engineering fields annually. This number has been increasing, and in 2011 federal researchers published over 10% more publications in these fields than they did five years earlier. In 2014, for example, the National Research Council participated in approximately 370 media interviews, and its scientists published more than 729 scientific articles. In addition. Environment Canada gave over 4,100 interviews with subject matter experts and scientists last year alone.
Furthermore, last year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada received 713 interview requests related to scientific questions and participated in 647 media interviews. That means that more than 91% of interview requests were granted. Furthermore, Fisheries and Oceans Canada responded in writing to 1,406 media inquiries on the sciences.
I would also like to point to our busy colleagues over at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who published more than 3,000 science articles, and to our friends at Natural Resources Canada, who gave 472 interviews to reporters to discuss research results and findings.
I share this with the House, through all of these numbers, to make it very clear that this is about fact-based responsibility and fact-based reporting to this House. Our departments are also active online and in social media, promoting our science and our scientists through science.gc.ca and through Twitter accounts such as @CANADAquakes and @SpaceWeatherCA.
I would note that all departments and agencies must ensure that all communications activities conform to the requirements of the communications policy of the Government of Canada. The policy states that institutions must facilitate information or interview requests from the media and ensure processes are in place in responding to media calls. It also directs departments and agencies to cultivate proactive relations with the media and to promptly address their inquiries.
Since the policy came into effect in 2002, ministers have been designated as the principal spokespersons of the Government of Canada. The communications policy of the Government of Canada also states that institutions must consult their minister's office when preparing a response to a media inquiry that could have implications for the minister, whereas media requests for technical information on specialized subjects are often directed to knowledgeable managers or staff designated to speak as representatives of their institution.
The government is extremely proud of the world-class work our scientists and researchers are doing. Their work plays an integral role in shaping the government's policies and decisions. These researchers' work is helping Canada achieve its primary social objectives, such as improving public health, ensuring food safety and product safety, creating a strong and vibrant economy, and protecting our environment for future generations.
Beyond supporting the dissemination of research findings through the media and scholarly channels, the government has launched initiatives to make federally funded scientific research and data more widely available to Canadians. A good example is the Open Data portal, which provides free access to thousands of government data sets and to various websites, such as science.gc.ca, that highlight the work of federal scientists.
What is more, we will advance open science policies and practices for publicly funded research by increasing public access to the results of government-funded research. This is part of a government-wide initiative to broaden the breadth and depth of information available through the action plan on open government. The reach of science across the federal public service and the opportunities to create new value through big data and other trends around the future of science demonstrate a strong need for a collective approach to define, develop, and integrate open science.
As a result of greater collaboration among the scientific community and private and public sectors, as well as increased engagement, we expect open science policies to make it easier for people to access publications and scientific and technical data.
In particular, our government has already implemented a tri-agency open access policy, formally launched in February of 2015, requiring that the results of federally funded research through the granting councils be made available within 12 months of publication.
Furthermore, we are committed to making available an online consolidated list of recently published research authored by federal scientists and will develop and implement policies to promote open access to federal science. As well, we have invested $3 million over three years in the Canadian Digital Media Network to create the open data institute. The institute will play a pivotal role in aggregating large data sets, informing the development of interoperability standards, and stimulating the commercialization of new data-driven apps.
In September 2014, science-based departments and agencies and the granting agencies agreed to a common federal open science commitment to be part of the Treasury Board's open government action plan 2.0 announced in November 2014. Led by my colleague, the hon. President of the Treasury Board, the action plan on open government will further open access to federal research and support openness and transparency. The initiative will provide Canadians with greater opportunity to learn about and participate in government, drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians, and at the same time create a more cost-effective, efficient, and responsive government.
The government is committed to taking measures based on open data initiatives focused on stimulating our digital economy and the free flow of useful and usable data.
Seizing open science opportunities and addressing challenges require a consistent, coordinated, long-term culture change with a whole-of-government approach. In addition, in order to mobilize knowledge from the lab to the marketplace, to address business challenges, and to seize new societal opportunities, we have built bridges between businesses of all sizes—universities, colleges, polytechnics, federal researchers—and we will encourage closer connections between the public and private sectors. This will empower firms to leverage their investments in R and D by seeking solutions with universities, colleges, polytechnics, and government laboratories.
I can assure all hon. members that the government will continue to work with its partners to implement these measures in a timely manner so that research institutions and businesses can take advantage of the opportunities and to maximize the benefits for Canadians.
By fostering innovation, our government is building greater partnerships among business and the research community to help companies compete and win in the global marketplace.
Science, technology, and innovation comprise the foundation of Canada's high standard of living and create growth, jobs, and long-term prosperity. Federal scientists and researchers contribute to these endeavours every day, and our government truly values the role they play. We are committed to communicating the results of their ingenuity, dedication, and hard work to Canadians.
Canada enjoys an enviable reputation when it comes to our scientific and technological contributions and recent major investments to promote R and D. We can take pride in the fact that we have some of the brightest researchers in the world, particularly in our federal laboratories.
Canadian researchers are very active, producing more top-cited scientific articles than most industrialized countries. We clearly punch above our weight: with less than 0.5% of the world's population, Canada produces over 4% of the world's research papers and nearly 5% of the world's most frequently cited papers. Canada leads the G7 in research and development performed by a higher education sector as a share of gross domestic product and is the only G7 country that increased its share of the world's published papers in the last decade.
That is wonderful.
Over the past few years, reports show that Canadian science and technology is healthy, growing, and recognized around the world for its excellence, behind just the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and we are fast approaching them.
The government is committed to capitalizing on these successes and further strengthening the Canadian scientific community in an open and transparent manner.
We have made record investments and bolstered federal research that inform sound decisions on public policy, we have supported people and we have encouraged openness. The world-class research of federal scientists and researchers help us to achieve our key goals. We have taken action because we are committed to supporting science and technology, through the conduct of high-quality research and open sharing, to improve the quality of life for Canadians.
I have had the opportunity to cross the country in the last 14 months in my role as Minister of State for Science and Technology. I praise our scientists and researchers for the great quality of work they do, for the things that matter in the country. They make Canada so proud. I wish the opposition would come join us to just talk about how proud we are of the great things these scientists and researchers have accomplished.
In my hometown of London, Ontario, which is the 10th largest city in Canada, is the home of Sir Frederick Banting. One night, in the middle of the night, he woke up and declared 25 words that would change the world. Those words were the formula for insulin. How appropriate that today is Diabetes Day on the Hill. Grant Maltman from the Banting House Museum will have the opportunity not only to showcase Sir Frederick Banting, but the great work Canadian researchers and scientists do. What Dr. Banting did with Dr. Best was so incredible and it has saved millions of lives. This is what we do in Canada.
I have had the honour to visit facilities like TRIUMF, Communitech and SNOLAB. If members visit these facilities, they will see science at its very best. These people are not shy to share their views. In fact, more important, is that they are proud to talk about what they do on behalf of the Government of Canada. What the federal researchers do is unprecedented in the calibre of their work. I have shared some of the statistics about how we punch so much above our weight in the number of publications that are cited, and that can only make one very proud.
I am pleased that members opposite brought this topic forward, not because of the description of the topic but because it gives us the chance to highlight not only the great work our scientists do, but also the work of the Prime Minister and this government in supporting, in unprecedented fashion through policy and financial support, the great work they do across the country. I could not be more proud as Minister of State for Science and Technology to thank our great scientists for their work. I know the House will join me when I say, “God bless you. Thank you for the great work you do. You change lives”.