2014 Ontario Budget has some hits, misses opportunity to invest in universities

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TORONTO – Professors and academic librarians across Ontario are puzzled that today’s provincial budget did not make significant new investments in higher education. In a budget that seeks to “strengthen our competitive advantage, create jobs, and provide vital public services” it is surprising that universities were overlooked.

“Ontario’s universities have the capacity to achieve all of the government’s social and economic goals,” said Kate Lawson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “What’s more, they also help create healthier, more engaged, and more equal society. Investing in universities builds a more prosperous and fair Ontario, so it is strange that the government hasn’t made higher education a stronger priority.”

Ontario currently has the lowest level of per-student funding and the highest tuition fees in Canada. Increased public investment would allow universities to preserve the quality of education while ensuring they remain affordable for students and their families.

Professors and academic librarians were pleased to see provisions in the budget that will allow OCUFA to continue to develop options for fair and sustainable pension plans at Ontario’s universities. OCUFA is currently working with partners across the sector to find concrete solutions to future pension challenges.

“Ontario’s professors and academic librarians are committed, as always, to improving the quality, affordability, and sustainability of our universities,” said Lawson. “While today’s budget is regrettably quiet on universities, we hope the government will continue to be a strong partner in our work.”

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