AAU'S Public Policy Paper Series
Atlantic Canadians increasingly understand the vital role that their universities play in the progress of the region. They stimulate growth; incubate new businesses; attract talented new immigrants; and promote good citizenship. It must also be understood, as governments and businesses look to universities to foster social and economic growth, that our universities can only do this by achieving excellence in their primary mission – the education of Atlantic Canada’s future leaders.
Canada’s East Coast universities have taken on a major new challenge: They are working together to develop a coordinated approach to meet the growing need for student mental health services. The urgency of this undertaking was underlined by speakers at a November 1, 2012 conference at Mount Allison University (MTA). And the day ended with a clear call to action from Memorial University (MUN) Deputy Provost pro tempore Robert Shea: “The AAU event should not end after one day of conversation, but continue to ensure our university team approach to post-secondary student mental health is an ongoing dialogue.”
Canada’s universities have increasingly gained recognition as major drivers of innovation and Research and Development (R&D) activity in Canada. As columnist and blogger Peter Lindfield recently notedi, university-industry partnerships “have resulted in the creation of many competitive spin-off companies.” Indeed, Lindfield argues, “It is not an overstatement to say that in Canada university research has been a cornerstone of innovation in every growth industry over the last 60 years.”
Canada faces a prosperity paradox: It is rich and successful, but it shouldn’t be according to one fundamental measurement – productivity. The Conference Board of Canada1 calls productivity – a measure of wealth produced per hour of work performed – “the single most important determinant of a country's per capita income over the longer term.” Yet Canada, as the Conference Board points out, has a poor track record among modern, industrialized economies for generating greater productivity through innovation, and from investments in machinery and equipment (M&E). Here are some highlights from Conference Board of Canada findings:
The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) applauds the Harper Government’s decision to direct significant spending to universities under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), a vital part of Canada’s 2009-2011 Economic Action Plan. With the help of a federal KIP contribution of $82 million, and additional support from Provincial Governments and other sources, Canada’s East Coast universities spent $177 million which upgraded, expanded, and created new state-of-the art campuses.