Kudos as the NRC Celebrates 100 Years
The Professional Institute congratulates the National Research Council (NRC) on its centennial and the more than 1,700 PIPSC members at the NRC who have contributed to its proud 100-year history.
As the union representing 15,000 scientists in 40 science-based federal departments and agencies, we agree with Science Minister Duncan’s assessment1 that strong support for both basic and applied research is crucial to ensuring the success of a new innovation agenda for Canada, in which the NRC plays an important role.
Too often, politics – not policy – have determined the government’s role in R&D.
The NRC – which underwent a dramatic change of mandate under the Harper government – starving it of needed funds for basic research and aligning its activities more closely with industry – has had over 800 positions cut since 2008.
Cuts to programs and staff in all federal science-based departments and agencies have seriously harmed the public interest that our members seek to serve.
Restoration of science in the federal government requires significant reinvestment in both staff and programs, and the appointment of a Chief Science Officer who, among other things, will be a strong advocate for scientific integrity within the public service.
- Federal science requires both new investment in vital program areas and safeguards to ensure scientists are free to speak.
- Our members and Canadians need clarity about the right of scientists to speak freely to the media and the public about their work. New communications policies should reflect this freedom, and collective agreements should enshrine the right to speak so that a clear complaint process is established. No government should be allowed to silence science again.
- This right – and Canada’s international leadership on science – can be further enhanced by ensuring more federal government scientists can collaborate with other scientists through increased participation in both national and international conferences.
Our members are highly-skilled professionals dedicated to public service.
They are ready to apply their skills and expertise to important national challenges.
Is the government ready to take action to restore the public service so it can take on these challenges?
1 Statement to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU), April 14, 2016.