Now is not the time for the Ontario government to move forward with its reckless plans for destabilizing performance-based funding, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty facing Ontario’s postsecondary institutions, workers, and students.
That was the message OCUFA President Rahul Sapra delivered to the Ontario government last week. In a letter to Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, Sapra requested the government delay the introduction of the new controversial funding framework and take that time to reconsider the wisdom of linking postsecondary funding to flawed performance metrics.
OCUFA has long cautioned that performance metrics impose unfair and unnecessary burdens on institutions and, in many cases, pass judgment on criteria universities have little or no control over. As a result, the COVID-19 crisis will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Ontario’s postsecondary institutions to meet many of the targets identified by the government, including metrics measuring employment rates, graduation rates, economic impact, and research funding.
This crisis brings focus to the serious inequities, instabilities, and flaws embedded within the new funding formula. The Ford government’s proposed approach threatens the quality of education and research in Ontario and should be repealed completely. Indeed, OCUFA believes the government should revisit the entire Strategic Mandate Agreement process in the wake of the challenges now facing Ontario’s universities.
Ontario’s students and academic staff need stability during this uncertain period. That stability can only be delivered through robust and stable public funding.