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Canadian Prime Minister Calls for C$237.2M Investment in Genome Canada

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – As part of his proposed 2016 federal budget, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for C$237.2 million ($180.4 million) in funding over three years for Genome Canada, to promote the non-profit's efforts to advance genomic science. 

Trudeau further requested C$30 million in funding over the next six years for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to support that agency's agricultural genomics research. 

Genome Canada, which was established in 2000, "plays a central role in helping to identify possibilities and seize opportunities for Canada in the accelerating field of genomics," the budget stated. The proposed C$237.2 million would support the organization's activities through the end of fiscal year 2019.

"We are pleased that the government sees science as foundational to Canada's next-generation economy," Genome Canada President and CEO Marc LePage said in a statement. "Genomics is an enabling technology that will spur innovation and growth in many important sectors for Canada including health, agriculture and agri-food, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, the environment, energy, and mining. It will also be a major asset in addressing challenges posed by climate change."

Genome Canada said that it would use the funding to launch new collaborative programs to expand large-scale genomic science and its applications across sectors, and to ensure that Canada's research community has continued access to rapidly evolving genomic technologies.

In July 2015, the organization announced that it had partnered with provincial governments and certain private sector and non-profit organizations to commit C$93 million to fund genomic research related to Canadian agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture. 

More recently, Genome Canada announced on March 10 that it would contribute C$4.2 million in funding to support alliances between industry and academic groups that are applying genomic technologies to agriculture and healthcare. One project involved collaborators from the University of Alberta and Dow AgroSciences, while another involved researchers from the University of Laval and diagnostics firm GenePOC.

And on March 17, the organization announced a C$2 million initiative to form a network of researchers focused on accelerating the translation of genomic research and its integration into the Canadian healthcare system.