This week’s announcement of the creation of a Centre for Healthy Living at the University of New Brunswick is the latest example of our post-secondary institutions leading innovation in our region, and across Canada — leadership I am committed to supporting as Member of Parliament for Fredericton.
The federal government is providing more than $16.6-million in funding, in addition to $8.3-million from the provincial government, to create a nationally significant research cluster out of UNB Fredericton that will be focused on health, wellness and physical fitness. The $36-million Centre for Healthy Living will establish New Brunswick as a leader in preventative health care across Canada, supporting the rising demand for applied research in preventative and rehabilitative care.
The project is estimated to create more than 300 direct and indirect jobs and an economic benefit of more than $20-million between 2016-2019. In the long term, it will enhance applied research already underway at UNB’s Faculty of Kinesiology and allow for greater commercialization opportunities for products developed at UNB that will improve the lives of New Brunswickers.
Universities in Atlantic Canada find it a challenge to attract funding for research. I’ve long recognized and appreciated the high calibre of solutions-based research coming out of our region. Ensuring that our post-secondary institutions receive their fair share of federal support to continue their world-class endeavours is one of my top priorities. For this project specifically, I was proud to champion our region’s capacity to pioneer new ways of addressing the challenges facing our healthcare system.
This centre will establish New Brunswick as a leader in preventative healthcare, producing innovative research and solutions that will improve the lives of not just New Brunswickers — where the effects of an aging population are today most pronounced — but all Canadians.
Of course, UNB is not alone. This centre and what it will add to our innovative capacity will complement the cutting-edge programs and projects currently taking place across the healthcare sector in New Brunswick.
For example, the York Care Centre in Fredericton was part of a national pilot program to improve dementia care through the appropriate use of antipsychotic medications. The patient-centred pilot was so successful that in May a new partnership was announced between the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes to expand the new model to 14 other nursing homes across the province, with the aim of going province- and potentially nation-wide in the years to come.
Also, there is significant research taking place and projects being supported by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, and important work taking place at the Fredericton Operational Stress Injury Clinic, one of the leading clinics in the country.
Last month I was pleased to host a stakeholder roundtable and public consultation on building an inclusive and innovative Canada.
One of the key themes emerging from these discussions is the idea that New Brunswick is perfectly positioned to serve as a living lab for designing, exploring and experiencing new policies and programs within the innovation sector.
It’s clear that in many ways this is already happening within the health sciences sector in New Brunswick. The research that will come out of UNB’s Centre for Healthy Living and the solutions coming from the endeavours listed above demonstrate that New Brunswick is and will continue to produce new ways of dealing with our health care challenges that will benefit the entire country.
As Member of Parliament, I am committed to ensuring that my colleagues in the Government of Canada recognize and appreciate the value, strengths and further potential of our region to make life better for all who call our country home.