Picture of Queen's Park
COU Statement: Response to Provincial Budget
March 23, 2023

TORONTO, March 23, 2023 – “Ontario’s universities welcome today’s provincial budget, as the commitments outlined will help support the health of Ontarians, while driving economic development in communities throughout the province.

The government’s investments in university health-care programs for registered nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as in medical schools, will help ensure health care professionals are there to provide quality care for Ontarians.

As Ontario faces severe labour shortages, universities have a role to play in ensuring the province has the highly skilled workforce it needs. They will continue to drive a strong economy by developing talent and conducting research in industries, such as critical minerals, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, EV and agri-food – key to attracting investment and helping foster economic prosperity for all Ontarians.

To compete globally, more can be done to fully realize the potential of research and innovation in Ontario. When compared to other provinces, Ontario’s ranking in research funding is well below that of Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

Today’s investments will help Ontario address labour force needs, rebuild a strained health-care system and drive economic growth. However, in order to ensure Ontario’s universities can continue to transform, support student needs, develop a skilled workforce and bolster the economy, universities need financial support.

A 10 per cent tuition cut in 2019 and an extension of the freeze for a fourth year, as well declining real operating grants, and delays in federal international student visa approvals, 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.

It is why Ontario’s universities continue to call for additional financial supports and the fast-tracking of a multi-year tuition framework.

By working together, we can continue to ensure Ontario has the highly skilled workforce and ground-breaking research it needs to fuel economic growth in order to build a stronger Ontario.”

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