Cuts to research programs, facilities and jobs jeopardize access to existing knowledge, and negatively impact future research and discovery.


Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) Research Station Closed

The 2012 Federal budget included the announcement that funding cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans would include the closing of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research station in March of 2013. It was saved by the Ontario Government and a non-profit research group based in Manitoba, but researchers now need to be concerned about the loss of ongoing federal funding for basic operations.—Experimental Lakes Area is saved, but it’s a bittersweet victory for science, Globe & Mail, April 2014

Nuclear Research Reactor at Chalk River Closed

“Canada’s workhorse nuclear research reactor, the NRU at Chalk River, is to be shuttered in 2018 after a 60-year run of pioneering scientific innovation and, more recently, serious age-related breakdowns, safety and security concerns, and political controversy.”—Ottawa Citizen, March 16, 2015

U of Manitoba Cereal Research Centre Closed

The Cereal Research Centre at the University of Manitoba closed as part of federal budget cuts. Specializing in wheat and oats breeding, the CRC contributed to billions of farming income and the Canadian economy since it opened in 1925. Its breeding program is set to be taken over by private companies and corporations.—Winnipeg Free Press

Lethbridge Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Centre Closed

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Centre in Lethbridge is the latest (August 2015) in a long line of research facilities to be closed by the federal government. 19 other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada centres are being shut down, along with 7 of Canada’s 36 research farms. These closures worry industry leaders like Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney:

“what I’m not seeing is a vision for the future from a public agricultural research point of view.”

Adding insult to injury and rationalizing the action as a modernizing the delivery of library services through digitization of materials, while keeping only what the government deems important and of business value, much of the reports and studies created by researchers at the Lethbridge facility were thrown out.

19 other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada centres are being shut down, along with 7 of Canada’s 36 research farms.

Kamloops Agricultural Research Station Closed

The Kamloops agricultural research station closed after 80 years of operation, despite retooling in 2011 to fulfill the Government’s mandate for research partnerships with industry and getting research into the hands of producers (Kamloops News), and as of September of 2014 the lands and facilities were unused.

It’s about choice.

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“It’s time Canadians understand the cumulative loss to federal science.”Debi Daviau, president of the 15,000-member Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Cuts are impacting the health and safety of Canadians


Department of Fisheries and Oceans Labs Closed

2012 also saw the closing of DFO labs in five locations and the laying off of 55 scientists and staff. These individuals, who studied pollution, including toxic chemical build-ups in marine mammals and fish, were replaced with an advisory group and a small research fund ($1.4 million/year) for academics and other independent facilities.—Globe & Mail; National Post)

Nunavut Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory Closed

PEARL (Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory) in Eureka, Nunavut, lost its federal funding in 2012 when the federal government stopped funding the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS). This closure happened in the midst of studies of the largest ozone hole ever recorded over the northern hemisphere.  CFCAS funded climate research that provided data necessary for public safety in a changing climate, including infrastructure design and improved weather forecasting.

Environment Canada Scientists’ Positions Cut

In 2013 scientists from Environment Canada responsible for monitoring air pollution from smokestacks lost their jobs leaving no ability for enforcement of clean air regulations. According to a collection of emails obtained by Postmedia News, the elimination of these jobs also eliminated “the only Canadian group capable of writing and supervising credible testing methods for new and existing rules to impose limits on pollution from smokestacks.”

“People die when you get the tornado forecast wrong.”Gordon McBean, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences Board Chair

Weather Forecasting Degraded

According to an internal 2008 Environment Canada report, made public through an access to information request, the Meteorological Service of Canada is unable to fulfill its goal of ensuring the safety and security of Canadians because the weather data system had been affected by cuts under the Liberal Government and continued underfunding under the Conservative Government.

National Aboriginal Health Organization Cut

The 2012 Federal Budget included $200 million in annual cuts to Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada had their funding cut by $165 million. These cuts “directly and significantly impacted several Aboriginal organizations and their work in First Nations, Metis and Inuit health,” and included the closing of NAHO (National Aboriginal Health Organization). NAHO’s work involved research and outreach programs in fields such as suicide prevention, tobacco cessation, housing and midwifery and it employed 30 health researchers. It had unique and valuable intellectual holdings including rare video and audio of Indigenous knowledge shared by Elders.

Winnipeg Institute for Biodiagnostics Staff Cut

National Research Council Canada (NRC) laid off 54 people, a third of the staff at its Institute for Biodiagnostics in Winnipeg, spelling the end of the development of low-field, high-performance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). And, despite NRC saying remaining staff would continue to work on medical devices, one Winnipeg executive who worked closely with the NRC told the Winnipeg Free Press that “It will be industrial R and D for hire.”

It’s about choice.

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 Staff and programs that support and facilitate research in Canada are being lost.


Mandatory Long-Form Census Abolished

In 2010, despite at least 370 organizations, including provincial and municipal governments, non-government organizations, academics, the media, pollsters and others expressing displeasure, the Federal Conservative Government abolished the mandatory long-form census replacing it with a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). The low response rate to the first NHS resulted in some of the data, particularly from First Nations and rural communities, being unusable.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Research Libraries Closed

Seven research libraries with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were closed in 2013. The Government claimed that library contents would be digitized and preserved; however it was found through an access to information request made by Post Media that much of the libraries’ collections were dumped—a disturbing practice that occurred again in August in Lethbridge when the Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Centre was shuttered.

Library and Archives Canada Services and Staff Cut

On April 30, 2012, LAC announce that it would cut 20% of its staff—a cut of 215 positions from 1065 to 850 staff. Prior to the April 30 2012 cuts, staff levels had already declined by more than 48 full-time positions since 2004.

Public access to the library and archives is vital for advancing research and preserving heritage and cultural materials. Changes in services have resulted in:

  • reduced public access to on-site and on-line services
  • reduced access to collections
    • some collections are being entirely removed
    • specialist archivists, who have specialized knowledge about particular subjects, records or fonds, have been eliminated: some researchers have been told that certain fonds are not available to them because the archivist expert in that collections area is no longer in the position
    • the Inter-Library Loans program has been eliminated, further reducing public access to LAC’s collections

—CAUT, Save Library and Archives Canada

Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information Librarians Cut

As part of cuts to the National Research Council, the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) lost 86 librarian and administrative positions in 2010 and its publishing arm was privatized, effectively reducing access to science information (See also: Evidence for Democracy).

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Research Libraries Closed

In 2013, seven research libraries with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were closed and much of the material dumped, burned or scavenged by private consultants.—TheTyee.ca

It’s about choice.

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“The present government has priorities that are clearly out of step with both public scientists and the public interest.”Debi Daviau, president of the 15,000-member Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Allison MuriProgram Cuts