Investment in university infrastructure will contribute to Canada's economic recovery



    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association of Universities and
Colleges of Canada welcomes the new investment in Canada's university
infrastructure and the Canada Foundation for Innovation funding announced in
today's federal budget. These investments will boost universities' role in the
effort to stimulate the economy in these difficult times.
    AUCC is pleased to see the investment of $2 billion targeted for critical
infrastructure at postsecondary education institutions aimed at supporting
repairs and maintenance as well as accelerated construction on university and
college campuses. This will create jobs immediately in communities across the
country as well as ensuring that the Canadian economy is equipped to compete
internationally when we emerge from this difficult economic period. Renewed
campus infrastructure will enhance the quality of teaching and research at
Canadian universities.
    The Canadian Association of University Business Officers has estimated
that Canadian universities have a deferred maintenance backlog of more than $5
billion from maintenance delayed over more than a decade. This infrastructure
investment will help deal with the $2.4 billion of deferred maintenance that
is considered urgent as well as develop new facilities on university campuses.
    "Universities will work with the federal and provincial governments to
identify projects that are ready to go and will deal with urgent maintenance
issues such as upgrading buildings, labs and research facilities," says Tom
Traves, chair of the Board of Directors of AUCC and president of Dalhousie
University. "In these difficult economic times, supporting universities'
ability to contribute to Canada's short-term recovery and long-term growth has
an even greater significance."
    AUCC is pleased to see the federal government's continued commitment to
the people and knowledge priorities as outlined in Advantage Canada and the S
& T strategy with funding for infrastructure that focuses on increasing
productivity and competitiveness through the immediate commitment in 2009-10
of $150 million to existing Canada Foundation for Innovation competitions as
well as $600 million for future competitions.
    The additional $87.5 million short-term funds for Canada Graduate
Scholarships and $3.5 million internships in science and business are
significant contributions to maintaining Canadian universities' ability to
produce highly qualified talent. These funds will provide an additional 1000
master's scholarships and 500 doctoral scholarships.
    "Canadian universities are the training ground for tomorrow's innovators
and entrepreneurs. These are the young professionals and creative workers who
will contribute to the development of a strengthened and diversified national
economy as we emerge from the current economic crisis," says AUCC president
and CEO, Claire Morris.

    AUCC is the voice for Canada's universities. It represents 94 Canadian
public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level
colleges.




For further information:

For further information: Lyse Huot, Director Communications, Association
of Universities and Colleges of Canada, (613) 884-8401, lhuot@aucc.ca

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Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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