On Feb. 1, 2016, OCUFA President Judy Bates presented OCUFA’s 2016 budget priorities to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. This committee is tasked with reviewing Ontario’s fiscal and economic policies, and makes recommendations to government on what should be contained within the provincial budget.
OCUFA’s proposals are directed toward enhancing the quality and accessibility of university education in Ontario through increased government investment. Our recommendations include:
- Increase per-student public investment in Ontario’s universities to the rest of Canada average by 2020-21.
- Support universities to bring Ontario’s student-faculty ratio in line with the rest of Canada average by 2020-21 by hiring 8,510 new full-time faculty members.
- Ensure fairness for contract faculty by strengthening employment and labour law at the conclusion of the Changing Workplaces Review and supporting good jobs at Ontario universities.
- Establish a new higher education data agency mandated to collect, analyze, and disseminate key information on Ontario’s universities.
- The Government of Ontario should reject the use of “performance-based funding” as it seeks to modernize and reform its funding model. Such policies are inconsistent with the principles of publicly funded higher education and may do real harm to the quality of university education in the province.
All of OCUFA’s recommendations are contained in our written submission to the Standing Committee. Over the coming months, we will be working to ensure that higher education remains a priority in the provincial budget. While the budget date has not been announced, a recent report in the Toronto Star suggests it will fall on either March 3 or March 10. As in past years, we will be providing a full analysis of the budget on the OCUFA website and in OCUFA Report.