OCUFA has set out its priorities for the 2022 Ontario Budget in a written submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and in a presentation to the committee on January 20, 2022.
OCUFA’s budget recommendations aim to preserve the quality and sustainability of postsecondary education in Ontario through stable, consistent, and adequate funding as well as improved working conditions for university faculty. Public funding for universities in Ontario is at record low levels, while tuition fees are high, and academic work is becoming increasingly precarious. Ontario university faculty are extremely concerned about the impact of these alarming trends on the accessibility and quality of postsecondary education. OCUFA’s recommendations are to:
- Increase per-student public investment in Ontario’s universities to improve Ontario’s rank by one spot among other provinces by 2026-2027.
- Reverse the unstable and inequitable performance-based university funding model and restore the enrolment-based funding model.
- Implement meaningful increases to the Northern and Bilingual Grants, special purpose funding (particularly for Indigenous programming and supports), and research funding.
- Launch a multi-year faculty renewal strategy that supports meaningful long-term change to improve Ontario’s student-to-faculty ratio by one spot among other provinces by 2026-2027. This strategy should encourage universities to undertake additional full-time tenure-stream hiring over and above their current planned growth, and direct funds towards transitioning existing contract faculty into secure full-time positions.
- Increase OSAP funding and convert student loans into grants.
This year’s budget is an opportunity to start Ontario on a path that prioritizes quality education for students, innovative research, and fairness for the province’s contract faculty. The knowledge our universities produce and the good jobs they provide support our local communities, fuel the provincial economy, and address the most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges facing our province. By investing in accessible postsecondary education, we are investing in Ontario’s future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.