Data check: Government funding for Ontario universities continues to stagnate

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Just about everyone agrees that Ontario needs strong universities to drive student success, economic growth, and social vitality. Too bad the Government of Ontario still hasn’t gotten the message.

The Council of Finance Officers – Universities of Ontario (COFO) report for 2011-12 indicates that provincial operating funding to Ontario universities increased by two per cent from the previous year. Once inflation is taken into account, provincial funding actually remained flat from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.

The picture is marginally better if provincial funding for non-credit, trust-supported and research activities is taken into account. With these figure included, overall real and inflation-adjusted funding rose by half a per cent. In per-student terms, however, provincial funding decreased.


Investment in higher education is an excellent way to increase employment, promote innovation and drive economic success. It is also a way to strengthen our democracy and develop our society. So why does the Government of Ontario refuse to make the investment our universities need? Some claim that investment isn’t possible while Ontario fights to reduce its deficit. But students and professors know that the only thing we really can’t afford is under-funded universities.

Council of Finance Officers – Universities of Ontario, Financial Report of Ontario Universities

Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, USER enrolment data

Ontario Ministry of Finance, Quarterly Economic Accounts, GDP Implicit Price Index

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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