Building a Competitive
Advantage for Canada
Pre-budget Submission to: The Honourable James Flaherty, Minister of Finance
by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, November 18, 2009
Established in 1911, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities
and university-degree level colleges. Our mandate is to foster and promote the interests of higher education, both within Canada and abroad.
Canada has weathered the global recession better than most countries, but is
at a crossroads. Demographic changes on the horizon will have an impact on our
“Going forward, we can expect that
economic prospects and make innovation and productivity even more important
the jobs of the future will be even
than they are today.
more dependent on our science and
Developing the best-educated, most skilled workforce possible and unleashing
technology sectors. Attracting and
Canadians’ capacity for ideas, innovation and inventiveness are the surest means
to promote long-term productivity, economic growth and prosperity. Responding to
retaining these jobs requires us to
rising student demand, university enrolment this year will reach record numbers.
make smart long-term decisions
Universities are a $30 billion enterprise, serving more than 1.5 million students and
employing more than 150,000 faculty and staff. We welcome the Government of
Canada’s commitment that transfers to the provinces, providing essential support
-The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper
for universities’ day-to-day operations, will be protected despite Canada’s fiscal
The university community is united in its view that enhancing investments in
university-based research and expanding higher education opportunities, including
those available to international students and Aboriginal Canadians, will help Canada
“We will provide the investments
return to economic growth more quickly, improve Canada’s competitive position in
the global innovation economy, and help us address looming demographic and
necessary to ensure Canada's
scientific community will contribute
Any new federal investments at this time must promote Canada’s short- and
to greater prosperity for individu-
long-term economic prospects. Our proposals do both. By building on measures in
als and families across Canada. In
Canada’s Economic Action Plan, such as the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP),
and on the investments made through initiatives such as the Canada Excellence
today's uncertain economic climate,
Research Chairs, the Vanier Scholarship Program and the Canada Foundation for
our government considers innova-
Innovation (CFI), they will better prepare Canada to compete and thrive in the global
economy. Strategic investments now will fuel the growth and prosperity required to
tion to be essential in helping our
sustain all other areas of public investment.
economy recover quickly from a
global economic downturn and
AUCC recommends that Budget 2010:
create jobs and prosperity for the
• Significantly increase investments in university research through the three federal
research granting agencies. Increases of $400 million in each of the next two
-Hon. James Flaherty, Minister of Finance
years should be followed by increases of $228 million, $249 million and
$270 million in the subsequent three years, to greatly enhance Canada’s capacity
to develop the creative and talented people, and the innovative new discoveries,
products and services needed to drive productivity;
• Invest in an international student recruitment strategy at a level of $20 million
“We know that the jobs of
per year for five years; and
tomorrow are found in the
• Expand university education opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians by increasing
discoveries of today, so we look at
financial support to Aboriginal students, investing in university programs and
services which support Aboriginal students and establishing a pilot project fund
research funding as investment –
that will see universities partner with Aboriginal communities to help raise
in innovation, in job creation,
K-12 completion rates. For the first year of these efforts, $65 million in new
funding is recommended, with increases of $55 million in each of the following
and as a hedge against tough
-Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Industry
Generating wealth and knowledge
to meet economic and demographic challenges
“…investments in science, technol-
The Canadian economy is in a period of profound change. Many traditional jobs in
ogy and innovation will help us
resource industries and the manufacturing sector are disappearing. Over the last year,
however, there were 60,000 additional jobs in Canada for university graduates,
ensure that we bounce back quickly
compared to 390,000 fewer jobs in the rest of the labour force.
from the current global economic
Canada has traditionally relied on demographic growth to drive economic expansion.
downturn...Now is the time to up
Strong GDP growth in recent decades was accompanied by a significant increase in
our game.” -Science, Technology and
the labour force, both in absolute terms and as a portion of the population. This is
about to change dramatically.
Looming demographic changes will generate significant challenges and potential
constraints on Canada’s economic growth. In less than ten years, the share of the
population within the traditional working ages of 25 to 65 will begin to shrink. Over
the next 50 years, the proportion of the population aged 65 and older will double.
Relying on demographics to drive economic growth has allowed Canadians to take
“Science and technology—and the
productivity and wealth generation issues less seriously than we might otherwise
have done. Canada’s GDP per capita is $8,500 below U.S. levels. Countries that had
innovations that it creates—is espe-
been behind us on this measure are catching up to and, in some cases, overtaking us.
cially important for Canada at this
To address this, and ensure that Canadians maintain and improve their standard of
point of our history. That’s because
living, we must address productivity, with a key component of that being innovation.
we need to do more to increase
Developing innovative products and processes will help us to work smarter –
producing and earning more for each hour worked. Innovation will also help us to
our productivity.”-Mobilizing Science
discover new and more cost-effective ways of delivering health and social services
and Technology to Canada’s Advantage
to an aging population, without compromising quality.
(federal S&T strategy)
There is a growing worldwide consensus that countries investing heavily in
education, research and innovation will emerge from the global recession in a
position to lead in economic and social development. The OECD concluded in a
seminar held in February 2009 that “reforms aimed at strengthening innovation
in the context of broader reforms to address the crisis can help countries emerge
stronger from the crisis and help put them on a more sustainable growth path.”
There is a national consensus that
Canada is well positioned to make investments in innovation and knowledge and be
Canada must do more to promote
a leader in the emerging economic order. We have proportionately lower debt- and
innovation and productivity, as
deficit-to-GDP ratios than any other country in the G8. This year, our deficit-to-GDP
ratio is projected at 3.7 percent, well below the peak ratio of 5.6 percent seen during
seen in reports by the:
the recession of the early 1990s. We have strong education and innovation systems in
• Science, Technology and
which to invest. Within our existing fiscal capacity, we have to make strategic choices
to drive short-and long-term economic growth.
• Council of Canadian Academies;
• Competition Policy Review
Investing in research and innovative skills
As a country, Canada is well below the OECD average for investment in research
• Conference Board of Canada.
and development. The university sector compares well with other countries in terms
of the amount of research that it performs, but the private sector does not invest
sufficiently in research and development to compete with world leaders. Thus,
universities’ contributions to Canada, through their direct R&D efforts and the skilled
graduates they produce, will be vital in coming years. Indeed, two-thirds of PhD
graduates and 95 percent of master’s graduates work outside of academia,
contributing directly to the productivity of the private, not-for-profit, community
and public sectors.
Thanks to investments made by the federal government over the last decade, Canada
has a strong university base on which to build. Recent significant investments in
KIP and CFI are making our research infrastructure even more attractive. Universi-
“Our government’s commitment to
ties are attracting and retaining top research talent thanks to programs such as the
science and research did not begin
research granting agencies’ core research programs, Canada Research Chairs, Vanier
Scholarships, Canada Graduate Scholarships and Canada Excellence Research Chairs.
with our Economic Action Plan,
In the last ten years, these types of investments have helped to enable a 60 percent
and it will not end there.”
increase in graduate enrolment.
-Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State
This growth in graduate enrolment is vital to Canada’s prospects. We have
consistently developed fewer people with graduate degrees than the United States,
(Science and Technology)
contributing greatly to the per capita GDP gap with the United States. Achieving the
same graduate study levels as the United States would increase Canadians’ per capita
wealth by $2,000. To do this, we need to keep attracting graduate students and
ensure opportunities for those who have completed their studies.
To fully capitalize on this new talent and state-of-the-art facilities:
AUCC recommends that the federal government significantly increase investments in
the three federal research granting agencies by $400 million in each of the next two
years, followed by increases of $228 million, $249 million and $270 million in the
Recent Nobel laureate and geogra-
subsequent three years.
pher James Ford of McGill is integrat-
This funding will go towards the direct costs of research, support for the institutional
ing the social, physical and health
costs of research and post-doctoral fellowships.
sciences in his research on food
security in the North. In 2007 Ford
Direct costs of research
recieved the Government of Cana-
da’s Young Innovator Award.
Most of the new investment will support research grants funded by the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. AUCC welcomes the increas-
ing collaboration and partnership between the three granting agencies. As govern-
ment considers how to distribute direct research funds, it may be timely to address
the growing gap between the agencies in light of the fact that many of today’s
“The number one reason to fund re-
problems require both scientific and social responses.
search well and with vision is to at-
New models of innovation have people at centre stage placing a stronger emphasis
tract the very best researchers from
on the contributions of social sciences and humanities.
around the world. Once ڿ[in Canada],
AUCC recommends that research grant funding rise from just over $1.5 billion this
they can prepare Canada’s next
year (2009-10) to almost $2.6 billion in 2014-15. Almost half of the increase will be
achieved in the first two years.
generation of graduates – master’s,
PhDs and postdoctorates, including
This investment is needed to facilitate Canada’s ongoing economic transition and to
compete and collaborate in the ever-expanding global knowledge economy. Despite
the finest foreign students. All else
the global economic crisis, other countries are stepping up their innovation invest-
flows from this.”
- Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO,
• In addition to increased base budgets, the United States’ economic stimulus
Research in Motion
package legislated $10.4 billion over the next two years for the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), and $3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Half of
the stimulus funds appropriated for the NIH’s Scientific Research program had
already been committed to research projects by September 2009.
• According to the OECD, in 1995 Canada and China’s total expenditures on R&D
were at virtually the same level, and Canada invested more than twice as much
in university research. By 2007, China was spending more than four times as
Results for Canada
much as Canada overall, and had surpassed Canada in funding university research.
• The European Union’s research framework program (FP7) will achieve a 2013
funding level almost double that of 2007.
The Omega-3 egg is the product
• Germany’s Higher Education Pact increases the federal government’s funding of
of research at the University of
science and higher education by €18 billion (approximately $28 billion Canadian)
over the next decade.
Guelph, funded federally and
• Australia’s 2009 federal budget increased science and innovation funding by 25
provincially, that is creating jobs in
• India’s government increased its higher education budget by 40 percent this year.
that community and improving the
• The United Kingdom has announced that it will continue the 10-year growth in
health of Canadians.
science investment outlined in 2004.
University research already makes an enormous contribution to Canada’s economy.
The world-leading research insti-
Our universities do a better job of attracting private sector R&D investment than those
in any other G7 country. Over the last decade, the number and value of research
tute on aviation ice and de-icing is
contracts with foreign and domestic businesses have more than doubled. Canadian
based at the Université du Québec
university research and science parks are home to more than 950 high-tech compa-
nies and research centres that employ more than 39,000 people and contribute more
à Chicoutimi. Every time a plane
than $3.8 billion to Canada’s economy. Universities are keen to work with the private
goes through the de-icing process,
sector and the federal government to ensure the translation of more ideas from the
laboratory to the marketplace.
we can thank university research.
University research touches Canadians every day, from the moment they wake up
until the moment they go to sleep. The investments we recommend will build on
Voice compression technologies
this, creating economic and social returns both through research discoveries and
used in more than three billion
through the additional capacity to innovate that graduates will bring to all sectors
of the economy. New investments will promote areas of particular research strength
cell phones around the world were
while also supporting a broad range of peer-reviewed, long-term, discovery-oriented
developed and commercialized at
research. We know what many of our strengths are today, but not the origins of our
next major discoveries or what our future strengths will be.
the Université de Sherbrooke,
generating spinoff companies, new
The benefits of significant new investments in the direct costs of research are many,
and will be felt in both the short- and the long-terms:
inventions and close to 600
• The results of the research conducted will help to address the economic, social,
health and demographic challenges facing Canada.
• Canadian researchers will be better able to compete and collaborate with their
Affecting one in four men and one
• Research grants provide resources to train graduate students, enhancing the
in ten women over the age of 35,
creative and innovative skills and talents that will be critical in driving future
sleep apnea can lead to high blood
changes and growth in our economy.
• Greater investment in research grants will allow us to make full use of the
pressure, heart disease and heart
facilities supported by the KIP and CFI.
failure. Research on sleep apnea at
• Investment in research grants will help universities to retain and attract faculty
and students in competition with other countries.
the University of Calgary led to
• Research investments will drive innovation and growth to fuel the prosperity
the development of new therapeu-
required to sustain all other areas of public investment.
tic products and a business gener-
ating $160 million in sales.
For more examples, visit
Support for the institutional costs of research
“Many of our competitors already
spend more on public research than
The institutional costs of research, which include the costs of maximizing the impact
of research (intellectual property management and technology transfer), ensuring
we do, and they contribute more to
regulatory and safety compliance (ethical review, reporting), maintaining critical
meeting the indirect costs associ-
supports to research (libraries, computer networks, financial administration and
reporting), and managing the research process, amount to at least 40 percent of the
ated with that research...The gov-
cost of the research that is conducted. The Indirect Costs Program, valued at $325
ernment’s aim is to raise average
million a year, covers a portion of these costs, with an average reimbursement rate
of about 23 percent.
support for indirect research costs
to 50 cents for each dollar
In many other countries, meeting the full institutional costs is seen as a basic respon-
sibility of those funding research. Canada’s main competitors for research funding
of competitive project grant fund-
and talent – the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Austra-
ing by 2014.”
lia – reimburse institutional costs at average rates running from 40 to 60 percent of
research grant values. The one exception is Australia, but the government there has
-Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda
announced that it will institute a 50 percent reimbursement rate by 2014.
for the 21st Century
Even factoring in support provided by programs such as the CFI’s Infrastructure Oper-
(Government of Australia)
ating Fund, Canadian universities are at a competitive disadvantage compared to their
AUCC recommends that the Indirect Costs Program be increased by 40 cents for every
“The introduction of full economic
dollar of increase in direct costs.
costing has improved universities’
Funding for the Indirect Costs Program under this proposal will increase from $325
ability to cover the costs of their
million today to $738 million in 2014-15. This will increase the average reimburse-
ment rate to over 35 percent, putting Canada on a path to the 40 percent required to
research and moved them further
meet real costs and compete internationally.
towards long term financial sustain-
In addition to making Canadian universities more competitive internationally,
enhanced support for institutional costs will allow a reduction in the amount of
-Higher Ambitions: the future of universi-
cross-subsidization occurring today. Covering unfunded institutional costs from their
operating budgets means that universities forego other investments that would
ties in a knowledge economy
improve the quality of teaching and scholarship. Using the 40 percent rate as a
(UK Department for Business,
baseline, unfunded institutional costs today amount to $240 million annually.
Enhancing funding for institutional costs would, for example, allow universities
Innovation and Skills)
to reduce class sizes and improve the quality of undergraduate education.
Support for post-doctoral fellows
Post-doctoral fellows are a vital part of Canada’s innovation system. These highly
talented PhDs are in the early stages of their career, conducting advanced research
and scholarship under the supervision of university faculty. Canadian R&D relies on
A University of Ottawa post-doc-
the cutting-edge research they contribute to and perform, as well as the support that
they provide in the training of graduate students. Post-doctoral fellows are the next
toral student, in partnership with
generation of university researchers and their presence at Canadian universities pro-
Spartan Bioscience, has developed
vides a recruitment pool for universities, industry and other knowledge employers.
a fast, affordable and sensitive
In light of the global demand for their skills, it is important to provide additional
DNA analyzer that enables doctors
support to keep the growing numbers of talented young graduate students and post-
doctoral fellows from a broad range of disciplines here in Canada.
to diagnose life-threatening viral
infections in as little as 30 minutes.
AUCC recommends that a new post-doctoral fellow support program be established,
under the auspices of the granting agencies. The total investment in 2010-11 would
be $50 million, with $100 million invested annually thereafter.
This will support approximately 750 post-doctoral fellows in the first year, and ap-
proximately 1,500 per year after that. Each fellow would be eligible for two years of
support at approximately $65,000 per annum.
Canada will benefit as post-doctoral fellows perform valuable research and hone the
skills and talents that they bring to the private sector, academia, the public sector and
the not-for-profit sector. More of these graduates will remain in Canada and contrib-
ute to our well-being, rather than being drawn to international opportunities in an
increasingly knowledge-based world.
International student recruitment
“International students provide a
By attracting international students to study in Canada, universities play a central role
in providing Canadians with connections to highly-qualified people and ideas from
significant boost to Canada’s econ-
around the world.
omy. Their presence helps create
International students benefit Canada in many ways. There is a significant and
thousands of jobs and generates
immediate economic benefit to communities across the country. A just-released
billions in revenue. Our government
report commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
will continue its efforts to promote
Canada as the destination of choice
• through their spending on tuition and other fees, books, accommodation and
meals, transportation and discretionary items, international students contribute
for international students…”
$6.5 billion a year to the Canadian economy;
-Hon. Stockwell Day,
• international students generate more than 83,000 direct jobs for Canadians;
• international students boost government revenues by more than $291 million.
Minister of International Trade
Education services are Canada’s number one export to China ($1.3 billion), our
number two export to South Korea ($846 million) and our third most valuable
export to France ($263 million).
International students contribute
Beyond this, Canada benefits whether international graduates stay and work here or
$6.5 billion a year to Canada’s
put their expertise and knowledge to work in their home country. Those who re-
economy – more than the export
main in Canada help provide the skilled graduates needed to enhance our economic
performance and address the upcoming demographic crunch. Since 1996, more than
of coal or coniferous lumber.
100,000 immigrants to Canada – many of whom initially came here on student visas
-Economic Impact of International
– earned their highest degree at a Canadian university. They now enjoy higher income
levels than immigrants who earned their university degrees elsewhere. International
Education in Canada
student recruitment is one of the most effective ways of attracting the skilled and
talented immigrants that our labour force needs.
New Brunswick is facing a
Many of the international students who return to their home countries become busi-
significant decline in population
ness, governmental, academic and cultural leaders and their links with Canada help
to strengthen our own international economic, diplomatic and cultural ties.
over the next decade. The infusion
of international students at
The number of international students at Canadian universities has grown steadily
over the last decade, to approximately 77,000 full-time students today. They repre-
Université de Moncton (over 600
sent seven percent of full-time undergraduate enrolment, and 18 percent of gradu-
students or 12% of the overall stu-
ate enrolment. Their presence internationalizes the learning experience for Canadian
students. The top five countries from which Canada attracts students are China, the
dent body) creates an immediate
United States, France, India and South Korea.
pool of skilled – and often bilingual
While the number of international students studying in Canada has increased, the
– individuals that can contribute
number of students studying outside of their home country is growing faster and
both on the cultural and economic
other countries have made greater investments to attract those students. The United
Kingdom has invested approximately $50 million over two years, in addition to core
level in the province.
funding for the British Council (its main promotion organization). The Australian
government invests around $20 million a year in its international education market-
ing efforts. These investments are paying off. The enrolment of Chinese students in
Canadian universities currently stands at 15,000, but this is considerably fewer than
the 51,000 Chinese students studying in Australia and the 49,000 studying in the U.K.
The enrolment of Indian students at Canadian universities has gone up over the last
five years, but the 2,800 studying here is low in comparison to the 28,000 in Australia
and the 27,000 in the U.K.
Five hundred of the international
There has been progress to date through Edu-Canada, the federal government’s
students studying at Vancouver
initiative to attract international students.
Island University in Nanaimo stay
AUCC recommends that the federal government invest in an international student
with local families, providing an
recruitment strategy at a level of $20 million per year for five years.
economic boost and sharing their
This strategy would include:
cultures and experiences. In a
• Enhanced promotional efforts focussing on the Edu-Canada brand and the
community facing the decline of
excellence of the Canadian university system, with activities including targeted
traditional industries, the new
outreach in key markets, university-specific fairs, promotion of the Vanier Scholar-
ships and immigration reforms, and an enhanced web presence;
knowledge economy is real and
• Additional resources for study permit processing in key missions abroad;
making a positive difference.
• Support for a not-for-profit, stakeholder-driven initiative to coordinate and deliver
promotion and outreach on behalf of the Canadian education sector;
• Seed funding for institutions to undertake market research and pilot missions to
enter new international student markets; and
• Universities working with the federal government to establish recruitment goals
and targets for a select number of countries.
Aboriginal university education
Over the next decade, 400,000 Aboriginal Canadians will reach the age to enter
the labour market. They can play an important role in addressing anticipated la-
bour market pressures, particularly in Prairie and northern regions. But while the
The University of Saskatchewan’s
Aboriginal youth population is growing at three times the national rate, Aboriginal
Arts & Science Transition Program
Canadians’ level of university degree attainment is one-third the national average.
Though Aboriginal university participation is increasing, the attainment gap with the
provides Aboriginal students whose
non-Aboriginal population is widening. Aboriginal Canadians with a university degree
high school grades fall below
have similar earnings and employment outcomes to their non-Aboriginal peers. Not
surprisingly, the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development identifies
admission requirements a way
developing human capital as a main strategic priority.
into university. Students enjoy the
Many universities have developed programs in collaboration with Aboriginal com-
chance to take university credit
munities that have helped to attract Aboriginal students and provide them with the
courses in small classes, while still
necessary assistance to ensure academic success and the completion of their studies.
having time and opportunities to
Despite the success of these programs, significant challenges remain. While many of
complete Grade 12 or upgrade their
the educational challenges are at the Kindergarten to Grade 12 level, more can be
done to improve the educational attainment level of Aboriginal Canadians at univer-
high school marks. As a result of
sity level. This is particularly important as more Aboriginal university graduates are
programs like this, nearly nine per-
needed to fill vital roles in their communities as teachers, nurses, doctors, accoun-
tants, civil engineers and in other professions. Investments in increasing Aboriginal
cent of the U of S’s student popula-
enrolment and graduation levels will pay dividends that compound: as more gradu-
tion self-identifies as Aboriginal.
ates contribute to the success of their communities and provide role models for
younger people, there will be greater success at the K-12 level, leading in turn to a
larger cohort of people ready for university.
To further increase enrolment and graduation levels, Aboriginal Canadians need spe-
cialized financial support to address the costs they face, and universities need to be
able to provide specialized academic and support programs for Aboriginal Canadians.
These programs require additional resources that, for the most part, are not covered
by provincial operating grants for classroom instruction. Many of these programs lack
long-term, sustainable funding. Current federal funding for these programs is insuf-
Aboriginal university enrolment has
Funding from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), aimed specifically at helping
status Indian and Inuit students pay for their education, has not kept pace with de-
grown from only two students in
mand, demographics or costs. The number of Aboriginal university students supported
1952 to as many as 30,000 today.
by INAC fell from 26,493 in 1996-97 to 23,780 in 2006-07. Given the economic and
social returns Aboriginal university graduates provide, a sound policy would be to
ensure that qualified students can afford to attend university.
AUCC recommends that, to address these Aboriginal education issues, the federal
government increase financial support to Aboriginal students, invest in university
programs and services which support Aboriginal students and establish a pilot project
fund allowing universities to partner with Aboriginal communities to help raise K-12
completion rates. For the first year of these efforts, $65 million in new funding is
recommended, with increases of $55 million in each of the following four years.
Increased federal financial support for Aboriginal students
INAC’s Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) is the main financial support
mechanism for Aboriginal students. Between 2001 and 2006, 10,588 qualified status
First Nations students were denied funding from the PSSSP. In 2007-08 alone, 2,858
The number of Aboriginal university
eligible students did not go on to postsecondary education because of funding reduc-
students supported by INAC
actually fell from 26,493 in
The average allocation under the PSSSP is $12,316. INAC is reviewing its programs
1996-97 to 23,780 in 2006-07.
relating to postsecondary education to ensure they embody a whole-of-government
approach to addressing challenges. While the results of this review may change
the delivery mechanism for student assistance aimed specifically and exclusively at
Aboriginal Canadians, it is important that the federal government continues to invest
in this area.
AUCC recommends that the annual level of student assistance targeted exclusively
to Aboriginal Canadians be increased by $35 million in the next fiscal year.
This would provide assistance to 2,800 more Aboriginal students at current per capita
funding levels. The increase to the annual Aboriginal student assistance budget
should reach $145 million in five years’ time to ensure that every qualified
Aboriginal student receives the necessary financial support.
Investing in university programs and services which support
In 2006, AUCC reported on university outreach and support programs for Aboriginal
students. These include programs for: increasing the number of Aboriginal faculty
and staff; recruiting Aboriginal students; early intervention; pro-active admission
policies; transition; bridging programs; academic outreach programs; native studies
programs; other programs with an Aboriginal focus; student support; financial support
for students; cross-cultural awareness training; and Aboriginal input into university
This support costs money. The only federal funding that universities receive to support
their Aboriginal initiatives is through the Indian Studies Support Program (ISSP). ISSP
support does not cover the cost of current initiatives, let alone the expanded sup-
port mechanisms that will be needed if we are to achieve our goals of broadening
Aboriginal university participation and graduation rates. The ISSP is subject to INAC’s
review of postsecondary education programs, and in that light:
AUCC recommends that the ISSP be redesigned to focus on supporting institutions that
have Aboriginal student outreach and support programs, and that funding distributed
through the Program be immediately doubled to $40 million. Over five years, this
funding should increase to $150 million annually.
“Success in education requires all
Raising Aboriginal elementary and secondary school completion rates
of us, the federal, provincial,
Universities are engaged in a number of ways in helping Aboriginal communities deal
First Nations governments and
with the K-12 challenge. Examples include using upper-year students as ambassadors
visiting Aboriginal communities and acting as role models; summer camps bringing
universities to find and to sustain
young Aboriginal students to campus; training greater numbers of Aboriginal teach-
co-operative efforts that focus on
ers; and helping Aboriginal communities and families better understand the costs
and requirements of postsecondary education and how they can save and meet the
the student and on their success.”
- Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief,
AUCC recommends the creation of a pilot project fund worth $10 million.
Assembly of First Nations
Coupled with expanded investments in the ISSP, the priority for 2010 would be to
allow universities to engage Aboriginal communities and K-12 partners to discuss how
universities can help deal with the K-12 challenges that are leading to lower univer-
sity participation rates amongst Aboriginal Canadians.