Government of Canada invests in SNOLAB

January 22, 2013 — Facility Updates

OTTAWA, ONT. — January 22, 2013 — The Government of Canada, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, is investing $145 million in maintenance and operating support for Canada’s high-performing, internationally renowned research facilities. Canada’s synchrotron research installation, a national high-performance computing platform, and SNOLAB, a world-class underground neutrino and dark matter physics laboratory are all receiving funding from CFI’s Major Science Initiatives fund— enabling the best and brightest researchers to carry out internationally competitive research that results in benefits to Canada as a whole 

“Canada is a world leader in innovation,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “By investing in major research facilities, such as these, our Government is helping Canada’s research community reach new heights, address national priorities and meet global challenges.” 

Funding announced today will help sustain scientific excellence at SNOLAB, a world-class neutrino and dark matter physics laboratory located two kilometres below the Earth’s surface in Sudbury, Ont., which is expected to generate $93 million in economic activity for the Ontario economy over the next five years. “SNOLAB is delighted that the Canada Foundation for Innovation has awarded these funds for the continued operations at SNOLAB.” said Dr. Nigel Smith, Director of SNOLAB. “This clearly demonstrates the commitment by the Government of Canada to the development and maintenance of world leading research infrastructure, affording Canada the opportunity to spearhead fundamental science and develop economic impact through innovation and inspiration. Canada has historically been a global leader in deep underground science, and these funds will allow us to capitalise on, and broaden, this historical position.” 

“These facilities are all major drivers of economic and scientific productivity in Canada,” said Gilles G. Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. “We are pleased to be playing a role in their continued success.” 

About Major Sciences initiatives (MSI) 

A major science initiative addresses a set of significant leading-edge scientific problems or questions. The scope of these areas of research—ocean and earth sciences, for example—is so significant and complex that it requires unusually large-scale facilities and equipment, substantial human resources, and complex operating and maintenance activities. These projects have a lifecycle extending many years. The funding for MSIs announced today is part of Budget 2010. 

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation 

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit 


SNOLAB is Canada’s leading edge astroparticle physics research facility located 2 km underground in the Vale Creighton Mine. The project began in 1990 as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), designed to solve the Solar Neutrino Problem. The enormous success of the SNO experiment proved the value of deep underground physics laboratories and the SNO measurement has led to more questions about the nature of neutrinos and the composition of the Universe that can only be answered in experiments sited underground. 

The SNOLAB facility was created by an expansion of the underground research areas next to the highly successful Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment. The entire laboratory is operated as an ultra-clean space to limit local radioactivity. With greater depth and cleanliness than any other international laboratory, it has the lowest background from cosmic rays providing an ideal location for measurements of rare processes that would be otherwise unobservable. Measurements are planned by a number of international collaborations that will seek Dark Matter particles left from the Big Bang and search for a rare radioactive process called neutrino-less double beta decay that could help explain the development of matter in the early Universe. Other experiments will measure neutrinos from the Sun, the Earth, watch for Supernovae in our galaxy and measure local seismic activity. The facility is operated by the SNOLAB Institute whose member institutions are Carleton University, Laurentian University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta and Université de Montréal. 

For more information on SNOLAB contact: 

Ms. Samantha Kuula
Communications Officer
Phone: (705) 692-7000 ext. 2222 

For more information and interview requests 
Ryan Saxby Hill  
Canada Foundation for Innovation
613-943-5346 (office)
613-294-6247 (mobile) 

Michèle-Jamali Paquette 
Director of Communications 
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear 
Minister of State (Science and Technology)