Science plays a key role in supporting a vibrant society and a thriving economy in Canada. Scientific advances, from medical breakthroughs to insights that keep our environment clean, improve the health and well-being of Canadians. From fundamental research to the development of real-world applications, science creates jobs, stimulates economic growth and spurs innovation.
Laboratories Canada is a 25-year strategy that will deliver on its vision to strengthen federal science in Canada. Budget 2018 launched the first phase of this strategy with an investment of $2.8 billion to support federal scientists with the important work they do for Canada.
The strategy signals a forward-looking approach to science planning by fostering innovation and collaboration in world-class facilities. The renewed facilities will house modern laboratories and collaborative spaces enabled with information technology tailored to meet the needs of federal scientists, as well as being environmentally sustainable and accessible.
The strategy will increase the government’s ability to attract a diverse range of talented scientists to work alongside federal leaders, while ensuring the government remains at the cutting edge of research and regulatory enforcement. It will also spark innovative ways of doing research, drive economic growth and deliver real results for Canadians.
Strengthening federal science
Aligned with the Government of Canada’s vision for science, Laboratories Canada renews federal laboratories and supports a collaborative approach to conducting science and technology. The investment will support Canadian innovators as they work to solve our biggest societal challenges and improve the lives of all Canadians.
This transformative, 25-year, whole-of-government strategy aims to provide federal scientists with leading-edge facilities, greater access to common tools and reduced barriers to support collaborative multidisciplinary research and innovation, and evidence-based decision making, including in regulatory responsibilities.
Modernizing science for the future
Many federal laboratories are outdated, and some are unable to meet the needs of science programs and do not provide scientists with proper tools for their work. As science is changing and the increase in societal challenges become increasingly inter-disciplinary, these outdated facilities are posing challenges for scientists to keep pace. Modernized infrastructure and strengthened inter-disciplinary science will better equip scientists to do their work and continue to make important contributions to Canada and Canadians.
A strategy of this scale, across multiple departments and agencies, requires support and input from senior officials of science-based departments and agencies.
Laboratories Canada is a partnership between the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) leads on the overall science policy government-wide, while Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) leads on the implementation of Laboratories Canada.
PSPC is working in partnership with federal departments and agencies, as well as external stakeholders.
Shared Services Canada (SSC) is a key delivery partner of Laboratories Canada, working closely with PSPC and key federal science and technology stakeholders to ensure modern information technology (IT) systems are in place to meet the evolving needs of science.
Science departments and agencies will continue to lead the science within their mandates and work within their science hubs to encourage and develop collaborative science to improve Canadian science outcomes.
Equipping facilities for the future
Laboratories Canada will support scientists through strategic equipment initiatives, such as facilitating equipment sharing and streamlining procurement processes.
As part of its overall strategy, Laboratories Canada will promote increased collaboration by facilitating the sharing of equipment. This approach will help optimize investments in complex and costly research infrastructure, while strengthening science programs and ensuring the best value for dollar across the equipment’s lifespan. The Laboratories Canada Office is partnering with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to include federal science facilities and equipment as part of the CFI’s Research Facilities Navigator. Laboratories Canada has also established a collaborative procurement of scientific equipment to simplify the process, reduce lead times for procurement and achieve economies of scale.
Improving acquisition of science equipment through collaborative procurement
PSPC has collaborated with science departments to identify the most commonly used commodities, and established a supply arrangement to facilitate and streamline the procurement of equipment.
This new approach is currently available for use and provides departments with simplified procurement processes, reducing time and effort for science departments, PSPC and suppliers. Furthermore, it allows the Government of Canada to achieve economies of scale and identify possibilities for sharing existing equipment before purchasing new equipment.
Leveraging information management and information technology
The government is sensitive to the technology needs of the federal science community and recognizes the critical importance of information management and information technology (IM/IT). That is why IM/IT represents one of the four pillars of Laboratories Canada.
To address the IM/IT pillar, PSPC is leading an integrated approach to science requirement validation to ensure that science investments are appropriately leveraged, and that a secure IT environment supports the needs of Canadian science.
PSPC will continue to collaborate closely with SSC, the federal science community and their chief information officers to develop and securely deliver the most critical science requirements, including IT, data management services and collaboration services.