‘Without the subsidy, tens of thousands of world-class researchers across the country were at risk of being laid off’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $450M support package for medical researchers across Canada who are working on a cure and treatment for COVID-19 and other diseases.
The funding will enable important research projects that were suspended because of the pandemic to begin again, with Canadian researchers redoubling their efforts to find cures and treatments for the country's most pressing health concerns, including COVID-19.
"Science and research is our door to a brighter future and that has never been clearer," the Prime Minister said. "But because of the pandemic, many labs have closed or are at risk of imminently closing."
The support package includes start-up fees to help Canada's research institutions ramp back up to full operation once physical distancing measures are lifted. The money will also provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes, up to 75 per cent per worker, with a maximum of $847 per week.
"Without the subsidy, tens of thousands of world-class researchers across the country were at risk of being laid off, starting next week. Without them, the medical research infrastructure was in real danger of collapse,” said Michael Burns, president and CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “We are talking about the people in Canada who are working on COVID-19. They're also working on cures and treatments for nearly all of the most serious diseases we face: cancer, diabetes and heart disease.”
The new fund will allow medical research institutes that receive limited or no direct funding from their provincial governments to retain researchers.
"Families across Canada depend on research to find effective solutions for serious health issues. Federal support is critical to protect the vital research infrastructure that saves lives," said Sarah Roth, president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation.
Supporting medical researchers through this fund will not only help in the immediate race for a cure for COVID-19 and keep cancer researchers working, it will allow the medical research enterprise in Canada to more easily rebound after the pandemic. It will also keep pharmaceutical industry partners engaged, to continue to develop the life-saving treatments, diagnoses and vaccines that will be vital in the wake of COVID-19, according to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
Last week, Trudeau announced that the federal government will establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada's largest employers and help protect Canadian jobs.
In April, a new solidarity fund was launched, providing Canadians with a way to donate money to over one hundred hospitals. The money will go directly to participating hospitals thanks to The Frontline Fund – which was recently launched by various hospital foundation leaders.