Colleges seek urgent meeting with Premier Wynne on $1.9-billion funding shortfall
Jan 30, 2017 | Jessica Charette
January 30, 2017
(NORTH BAY, ONT.) – Ontario’s 24 colleges are seeking an urgent meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to address the funding crisis that has colleges facing what could be a cumulative $1.9-billion shortfall by 2024-25.
“We’re doing everything we can to cope with funding shortfalls but it can’t continue like this,” said George Burton, president and CEO at Canadore College. “Ontario must find a comprehensive solution that ensures students will continue to have access to the high-quality programs and supports that lead to good jobs and long-term success.”
Since 2007-08, the provincial funding for colleges’ operating costs – in real dollars – has decreased each year. Colleges have suffered an accumulated shortfall – adjusted for inflation – of about $900 million over the past 10 years.
A new report by PwC Canada suggests that if no actions are taken to change current trends of revenues and expenses, colleges could face an annual operating deficit that will exceed $400 million a year by 2024-25 and a cumulative shortfall of more than $1.9 billion by that time.
While colleges have worked to manage funding shortfalls through greater efficiencies, the sector is at its breaking point. The government’s recent announcement that tuition fees at Ontario’s colleges will remain among the lowest in Canada worsens the fiscal squeeze.
College representatives will be meeting with Advanced Education and Skills Development Minister Deb Matthews in February. The colleges are also seeking an urgent meeting with the Premier.
The underfunding of college education is particularly puzzling at a time when the economy is being transformed by accelerating technological advancements. Without a change in direction, Ontario won’t have a highly skilled workforce and the economy will continue to sputter.
“The government must broaden its view and work with us to find a solution to this complex issue,” Burton said. “Ontario must commit to the long-term sustainability of college education to produce the highly skilled workforce that is essential in this new economy.”
Key economic value findings for Canadore College include:
- Canadore College and its students added $289.2 million to the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound region economies
- Canadore College students generated $10.9 million in new income in the economy
- Alumni from Canadore College have contributed $239.3 million to the regional economy in higher wages and increased efficiencies and productivity
- Canadore College saves the public $888.9 million by expanding the economic base and reducing social welfare costs
- Overall, Canadore College's operational activities account for 6% of the region's Gross Regional Product
- 53 per cent of Canadore College students stay in the Nipissing District and Parry Sound region upon graduation
The full PwC report can be found at this link.
Canadore trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 65 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and student services. The College and its students add nearly $290 million to the regions of Nipissing and Parry Sound. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 43,000 alumni working across the globe.
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