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COU Statement: Response to Government Announcement on Postsecondary Expert Panel
March 2, 2023

TORONTO, March 2, 2023 – Ontario’s universities look forward to working with the government’s postsecondary expert panel and are calling for immediate government financial supports and the fast-tracking of the panel’s report on the multi-year tuition framework. This will ensure postsecondary institutions have the resources they need to support students, maintain high-quality programming and drive innovation and growth.

While today’s announcement to extend the five per cent tuition increase for out-of-province domestic students and to allow tuition increases in limited programs is welcome news, it is disappointing that the tuition freeze has been extended for a fourth year.

Unfunded Ontario students, declining real operating grants, a 10 per cent tuition cut in 2019 and a further extension to the freeze, as well as inordinate delays in federal international student visa approvals that have an immediate financial impact of more than $100 million this year, are eroding the sector’s ability to deliver on universities’ mission to support students, communities and the province.

Currently, provincial grants account for 30.9 per cent of total university operating revenue and universities in Ontario receive the lowest per-student government funding in Canada.

Without immediate financial supports and tuition flexibility, the financial pressures for universities will continue to grow, further eroding the sector’s ability to support students.

Ontario’s universities play an essential role in developing the skilled workforce that is vital to economic prosperity for all Ontarians. Our students are graduating job-ready and resilient, while universities continue to transform and adapt to respond to labour market and student need.

Universities remain committed to transforming and adapting to meet the needs of a changing student body and labour market, while finding greater efficiencies so more resources are available to support students.

Ontario’s universities look forward to working with Minister Dunlop and the expert panel to further enhance the student experience and support access to a high-quality education, while ensuring universities have the financial resources they need to continue to meet rapidly changing labour market needs and drive economic growth.

By working together, we can continue to build a stronger and more prosperous future.

– Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities