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Ontario’s Universities Respond to Fall Economic Statement; Call for Urgent Action to Address Sector Financial Sustainability
November 2, 2023

TORONTO, November 2, 2023 – “Ontario universities acknowledge today’s Fall Economic Statement, which outlines the government’s continued commitment to build critical infrastructure and a strong economy, foster jobs and growth and support the people of Ontario. At the same time, COU is calling for urgent action to support the financial sustainability of Ontario universities.

Universities play a vital role in supporting the government’s economic agenda, as outlined in Building a Strong Ontario Together. With a shared focus to strengthen Ontario’s local economies and communities, Ontario’s universities continue to contribute vital talent and innovation to the province’s key industries, such as critical minerals, EV, manufacturing, clean energy and more. Ensuring the sector’s financial sustainability is critical to achieving these goals. We thank Minister Jill Dunlop and the provincial government for their leadership in establishing the Blue-Ribbon Panel, which will be reporting on the financial sustainability of the postsecondary sector.

In the face of more than a decade of declining provincial grants and the cut and freeze to tuition, demands on universities have only continued to grow, as they provide an increasing number of student resources that are not funded by government, including mental health, housing and research. In addition, there are about 20,000 domestic students who are not funded by the province due to the cap on domestic enrolment.

A financially healthy university sector will mean more wraparound student supports, leading-edge innovation and strong community partnerships that are critical to building a stronger Ontario – one that’s ready to seize opportunities and boost prosperity.

By taking immediate action on the financial sustainability of Ontario universities, the sector and government can chart a clear path forward to support Ontario’s students, drive innovation and foster economic development in communities throughout the province. By working together, we can build a strong Ontario for now and the future.”

Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities