Data Check: Ontario’s funding for universities continues to slide

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If a government’s commitment to “innovation” can be measured by its support to the institutions that carry out innovative research and educate the people who put their own ingenuity to work, Ontario’s government support is on a downward slide. University funding as a percentage of GDP still lags well behind the rest of Canada, despite the government’s supposed interest in innovation.
2010-11 is the latest period in which we can compare Ontario with other provinces. That year Ontario government operating support to universities –as a proportion of provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – was about 15 per cent below the average in the rest of Canada.
Surprisingly, 2010-11 was still nearly a peak year for Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities operating allocations to universities as a percentage of provincial GDP. The percentage was magnified in part because the economy had shrunk during the course of the Great Recession.
By 2015-16, if current funding plans for universities are not changed and Ontario Budget 2013 forecasts for economic growth are borne out, the level of MTCU operating support to universities will have dropped to what it was in 2005-06 when Reaching Higher was first launched. In ten years, the government will have erased the positive effects of Reaching Higher.
Canadian Association of University Business Officers, Financial Information of Universities and Colleges
Ontario, 2013 Ontario Budget
Statistics Canada, Provincial and territorial economic accounts

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