Data check: Conference board report highlights postsecondary institutions’ contribution to economy

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A recent report from the Conference Board of Canada argues that postsecondary education in Canada is a “growth industry”. It indicates that every dollar spent on postsecondary education delivers $1.36 for the Canadian economy. As a result, colleges and universities generate over $55 billion in economic activity once their $40 billion in direct spending and its multiplier effect is considered.

According to the report, universities and colleges in Canada have created 700,000 jobs when direct and indirect job creation is accounted for. Despite all the chatter about a so-called “skills gap” in the Canadian economy, the report also acknowledges that: “Canada’s PSE institutions have done a good job of expanding in response to demand for greater skills.”

The report suggests that the economic contribution of postsecondary institutions, together with their role in developing human and intellectual capital, supports the case for strong continued financial support from governments. In a context of continued underfunding (Ontario universities receive the lowest funding per student in Canada), it is important for the Ontario government to recognize the crucial role of postsecondary education in supporting a democratic society and a thriving economy by choosing to make adequate public funding a key priority.

The report was released on November 6 at the 2nd Skills and Post-Secondary Education Summit 2014: Developing the Skills and PSE Strategy for Canada, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Conference Board of Canada, The Economic Impact of Post-Secondary Education in Canada, November 6, 2014.

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