Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 09, 2009 13:07 ET

Creating Jobs and Benefitting Science - Government of Canada Invests in Upgrading Federal Laboratory in Swift Current

SWIFT CURRENT, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - May 9, 2009) - The Government of Canada is creating jobs and driving research by delivering $5 million, over the next two years, to modernize the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC). MP David Anderson (Cypress Hills - Grasslands) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, made the announcement today on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

"This smart investment will strengthen our laboratories, create jobs for the region, and benefit local farmers," said Mr. Anderson. "SPARC is an incredible asset to Southwest Saskatchewan, where decades of world-class work has directly impacted the bottom line for our producers. Local farmers know how important these investments are."

SPARC is one of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) network of 19 research centres. Located at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, the research centre conducts major agricultural research on the dryland regions of Canada's Prairies. Almost all the durum wheat and nearly half of the spring wheat grown in western Canada traces its origins to research from the Centre.

In Budget 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government committed to an accelerated investment program to provide $250 million, over the next two years, to modernize federal laboratories. The funding, one of the many job-creating investments in the Economic Action Plan, will improve these facilities while providing economic stimulus in regions across the country.

"This funding will help replace aging greenhouse facilities with a safer, more energy efficient structure," said Mr. Anderson. "Our scientists and researchers will have safer and more modern work environments, enhancing research and development and resulting in better health and safety outcomes for Canadians."

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

Modernizing Federal Laboratories

Project

Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC)

http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1180634963149&lang=eng

Department

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Location

Swift Current, Saskatchewan

Name and function of facility

The Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC) conducts major agricultural research on the dryland regions of Canada's Prairies.

Funding amount

$5.34 million ($670,000 will be allocated in 2009-2010, and $4,670,000 will be allocated in 2010-2011)

Project Description

The funding will be used to replace an out-of-date facility with a 700m2 greenhouse facility to allow researchers to effectively ensure the safe entry of new food and feed products and processes to the marketplace. This research is in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to develop new standards for innovative food products and processes. It would cost more to repair and maintain the facility than to replace it with a newer, more efficient one. The project will create up to 58 jobs during the construction phase.

Modernizing Federal Laboratories

There are about 200 federal laboratories and scientific facilities in Canada. Activities at these laboratories include research, testing and regulatory services in areas such as health, safety, security, the economy, transportation, environmental protection, heritage and culture.

In Budget 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government committed to an accelerated investment program to provide $250 million, over the next two years, to address deferred maintenance at federal laboratories.

This accelerated investment program is providing needed funds to address maintenance issues at federal laboratories and will provide economic stimulus in regions across the country. Service providers will be needed to address maintenance issues ranging from replacement of roofs, ventilation systems and boilers, to the updating of electrical systems.

In addition, the federal science community will benefit from updated laboratories where health and safety issues have been addressed. The quality of scientific activities in these laboratories will be enhanced because they will be better suited to modern scientific practice. This improved science and technology capacity will contribute to better health and safety outcomes for Canadians.

Project selection process

Federal departments and agencies were invited to submit proposals to the President of the Treasury Board which were reviewed against criteria set out in Budget 2009, including:

- Projects must be completed by March 31, 2011.

- Projects must addressed maintenance issues in federal laboratories.

- Laboratories must contribute to core federal regulatory responsibilities, advance science and technology capacity and/or contribute to enhance the health and safety of Canadians.

- Projects must provide economic stimulus.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary
    613-759-1059