Canadian budget to fund science, climate and conservation

The Liberal Party is back in the majority seat in Canada, and their 2016 proposed budget reflects a renewed emphasis on promoting science and conservation.

The budget, which was released Mar. 22, includes a “Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund,” which would provide up to $2 billion over the next three years to enhance infrastructure at universities and affiliated research and commercial organizations. An additional $95 million per year would be delivered to granting councils on an ongoing basis, in support of discovery research – $30 million of which to be directed toward the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Specific language in the budget expressed the Government’s commitment to increase climate resiliency. That language was supported by an allocation of $125 million toward the Green Municipal Fund, which would enhance projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.

The 2016 budget also included funding for conservation, ecosystems and Canada’s natural spaces. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada are slated to receive $81.3 million over five years to support marine conservation; $197.1 million over five years to Fisheries and Oceans Canada would increase ocean and freshwater science, monitoring and research; and $142.3 million over five years to the Parks Canada and Natural Resources Canada would support continued work on developing new parks and marine conservation areas, free admission for all park visitors in 2017, and strengthen education and ecotourism.

A three-month interim supply period begins once a budget has been proposed. The interim supply concludes June 23, after review and approval of the proposed budget. Until then the government may spend three-twelfths of the proposed amounts. Finally, any legislative changes proposed in the budget must be passed through separate legislative proposals.

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