Ministry of Colleges and Universities “historical investment” poses massive funding shortfalls for post-secondary institutions

For Immediate Release

February 26, 2024

TORONTO – Post-secondary leaders were left with more questions than answers following today’s “historic” provincial funding announcement by the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop. The announced $1.3 billion in funding is barely half of the $2.5 billion proposal outlined in the province’s blue-ribbon panel report recommendations on financial sustainability in the postsecondary sector.

“Dressing up $1.2 billion in funding shortfalls with language of ‘affordability’ and ‘historic investment’ won’t make the reality any prettier,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “It’s wholly inadequate. The funding crisis being faced by post-secondary institutions is snow-balling with no end in sight.”

The funding will be contingent on institutions proving their operations are “efficient,” yet measures for determining these so-called efficiencies have not been made transparent.

“This announcement will have colleges and universities fighting over crumbs, while the province calls it the whole pie,” added Hornick. “Rather than facilitating public college-private partnerships, the Ford government needs to address a decades-long funding and tuition crisis head-on rather than offering us meagre stopgaps.”

Chronic underfunding of our colleges and universities has led to the failing operational models of today, sustained by the exploitation of contract faculty, support staff, and international students. As with many of the Ford government’s decisions, repercussions of this announcement will be most felt in the lives of those already made vulnerable in the post-secondary system. Colleges are feeling the financial squeeze following international student visa caps – already struggling international students will pay the price.

“Band-aid solutions will only exacerbate existing inequities and the deteriorating quality of student experience,” said Hornick. “If post-secondary institutions are to continue providing the highest quality education and training possible for the present and future of Ontario’s workforce, they need sustainable operational funding. If the province can’t meet that responsibility, the consequences for the workers of tomorrow will be dire.”

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For more information, contact:

Vic Wojciechowska, OPSEU/SEFPO Communications