A coalition of university students, faculty, and staff are calling for a funding formula that ensures high quality and accessible learning while fostering good jobs in the university sector. At the same time, the formula must guarantee that our higher education institutions remain strongly public. The Ontario University and College Coalition (OUCC) released these principles in response to the Government of Ontario’s announcement that it will be reviewing the university funding formula over the coming year.
“The government review of the university funding formula comes at a time when the system is seriously under-funded. Ontario universities receive the lowest per-student government funding in Canada, which has led to huge increases in tuition fees,” said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “We now have the highest tuition fees in the country. The funding formula review needs to tackle this problem to ensure that our universities remain accessible.”
“Underfunding has contributed to a huge increase in precarious work within our universities,” added Kate Lawson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “Since 2000, the number of courses taught by low-paid, insecure contract faculty has increased by 90 per cent. It is vital that the review of the funding formula examine ways to ensure secure full-time employment in the higher education sector.”
“Government underfunding of universities has opened the door for a fundamental shift from public funding towards the privatization of Ontario’s universities. This year, for the first time ever, over half of the operating revenue of Ontario’s universities came from private sources,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, Chair of CUPE’s Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC). “It is essential that the funding formula review produces recommendations that protect the public nature of our universities, as a resource for every Ontarian.”
“Creating a funding formula that promotes greater access, better jobs, and public education is a critically important task,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. “Students, faculty and staff are united in working to achieve these goals, and for the record, the problems are fully as urgent in the community college sector as they are in the universities.”
The Ontario University and College Coalition represents students, staff, and faculty at Ontario’s public universities and colleges. The Coalition is made up of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS-O), Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario (CUPE Ontario), Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Unifor, and United Steelworkers (USW).