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Bill 18 gives the provincial government the power to prevent Albertans and Albertan organizations from applying for Federal grants and programmes

Alberta Bill 18, known as the Provincial Priorities Act, 2024, is a legislative proposal that mandates provincial oversight and approval of any contractual or collaborative agreements between provincial entities and the federal government. This includes a broad range of institutions and bodies within the province, including universities and colleges. The bill allows provincial politicians and bureaucrats a veto over whether Albertans can accept their own tax dollars back from Ottawa.

The bill was introduced as a part of a sweeping power-grab by the province, reaching into all corners of local governance and public organizations in the province — Bill 20, which allows the provincial cabinet to remove city councillors and invalidate local bylaws; Bill 22, which gives cabinet complete control over regional health care; and Bill 18, which prevents Albertan organizations from competing on a level playing field with Canadians across the country in federal grant competitions.

The bill represents a significant shift in how provincial and federal interactions are managed, potentially affecting the autonomy of institutions and individuals as they apply for federal funding or negotiate directly with the federal government.

You can follow the progress of Bill 18 here.

The text of Bill 18 is available here.

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Bill 18 makes Alberta less competitive.

Last year, Albertan researchers brought in over $500 million in research grants. Bill 18 puts that success at risk.

As currently written, Bill 18 gives the Alberta government the power to review federal research funds received by university-based researchers to ensure that these research projects "align" with the provincial government’s ideological priorities. Not only does this mean that scientific research questions will be subject to ideological tests, it also ties our researchers in red-tape, reducing their ability to compete with other Canadians for federal research dollars.

Bill 18 prevents innovation and harms Alberta's reputation as a place to do cutting edge research.

This bill will harm Alberta's reputation as a place to do cutting-edge research:

  • reducing the ability of Alberta’s researchers to compete with those in other provinces for scarce federal research funds;
  • impeding the ability of Alberta’s universities to attract and retain high caliber researchers, who may choose to work in provinces with a less bureaucratic approach to attracting federal funding; and
  • making it harder for researchers already in Alberta to lead or participate in national and international partnerships with projects in jurisdictions that are not subject to ideological interference.

Bill 18 reduces the funding available to Albertan college and university students.

Bill 18 also puts undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral student employment at risk. Federal research grants routinely budget a large percentage for student research assistants. At Mount Royal alone there are 135 students who work for faculty with federal research grants; there are many more at other universities. Bill 18 will make post-secondary education less affordable by reducing this major source of student support and threatens to have long-term impacts on Alberta’s ability to attract and train highly skilled students.

Bill 18 says Albertans can't be trusted to make their own decisions.

Albertans know that they are best served by research that is assessed on its scientific merit rather than political ideology. The freedom of researchers to pursue the most pressing problems rather than the most politically convenient is what allows a province to thrive in today’s knowledge economy. Bill 18 threatens this freedom and the ability of post-secondary institutions and the academic community to ensure that research and scholarship is conducted to the highest peer-reviewed standards by substituting the opinions of government politicians and bureaucrats for that of the Albertans who are actually making the discoveries.

Alberta can’t afford to damage its reputation and abandon its position as one of the best places to conduct research today.

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The resistance against Bill 18 is growing.

Stop Bill 18! is not the only group working to prevent Bill 18 from harming Alberta's competitive edge. Here are some others statements, motions, opinion pieces, and news reports describing the threat Bill 18 represents to research in our province:


Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) (unanimous)

University of Alberta General Faculties Council (passed unanimously): Read the motion here

Mount Royal University General Faculties Council (91% in favour)

University of Lethbridge General Faculties Council


CAUT Statement on Bill 18

CAFA Press release: Turning Albertans into Second Class Citizens

ULFA President's Statement

AASUA President's Statement

Mount Royal Coalition Statement

From the President's Desk (U of Alberta)

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What else can I do?

Call your MLA

Follow-up your email with a call to your MLA!

Demand that your administration and Board take up the issue

Ask your university president whether they they are joining the U of A, Mount Royal, and University of Lethbridge in passing motions at GFC to condemn this intrusion in university affairs.

Contact your faculty association

Tell your faculty association you support them in their efforts to overturn Bill 18 and its attack on research autonomy.

Tell your neighbours

Write a letter to the editor or tell your neighbours how your research affects your community.