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"Historical budget for science, women": Minister Bains boasts

Last Updated Mar 1, 2018 at 4:22 am EDT

570 NEWS - Erin Anderson

A historical budget when it comes to science, innovation, and equality – that’s according to Minister Navdeep Bains.

The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development made a stop at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in Waterloo on Wednesday to share highlights from the 2018 Federal Budget.

Bains says it’s all about the government’s commitment to promote equality across Canada.

“This is a demonstration around growth, and strengthening the middle class. We also know making this historic investment in science – close to $4-billion – will really help promote more equality, particularly around young researchers – more women, and more people of diverse backgrounds.”

Bains adds this is also important in terms of creating the economic growth that the government is hoping to see.

“We’re very fortunate in Canada that we have a very fast growing economy – the fastest among the G7 countries. We want to continue to build on that momentum.”

Bains notes that women are an under-utilized force in Canada, and we can’t afford to leave 50 per cent of our population on the sideline.

“That’s why we’re making these big investments as a feminist government, with a feminist budget. We recognize that when you invest in women, it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s really good for the Canadian economy as well,” says Bains. “That’s why we’re putting forward measures like pay equity legislation, employment insurance and parental leave initiatives, and focusing on women entrepreneurship initiatives as well.”

As for Waterloo Region – Bains says we wouldn’t be as successful when it comes to science and innovation without outstanding academic institutions like Wilfrid Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

“That’s why we continue to invest in the Universities’ infrastructure and research, which will lead to more economic development opportunities,” says Bains. “This Region has a low unemployment rate at 5 per cent, we want to continue to see that going forward, and that’s why we put forward initiatives like the ‘Supercluster’. It’s an exciting opportunity to strengthen the innovation corridor between Toronto and Waterloo Region, and its about promoting advanced manufacturing.”

Bains also touched on Communitech’s Fierce Founders program.

“Right now, only 16 per cent of businesses in Canada are women-led .. and we want to double that by 2025. Initiatives like those at Communitech will really help us achieve those ambitious targets. We recognize that we don’t have all the ideas, and we want to support great initiatives – like those at Communitech.”

Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy says she’s pleased with the measures highlighted in the new budget.

“The investments in research are going to mean so much to not only current researchers – but also those that are newly hired, and undergraduate and graduate students.”

MacLatchy says as a female science researcher – it’s thrilling to see this kind of progress.

“It’s thrilling to see the government’s understanding of how important it is to nurture and support the pipeline of women through school, and into their careers.”

MacLatchy calls the budget fundamental, and will lead to new innovation and growth for our country.