Ontario’s Response to COVID-19
Partnering to Support Ontario’s Response to COVID-19 and Economic Recovery
October 20, 2020

All aspects of the social, community and economic life of the province have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. For Ontario’s universities, these impacts are being felt by students, staff, faculty and communities throughout the province. The Ontario Spirit shown by our students, staff, faculty and institutions remains strong. We’ve joined people across Ontario in seeing not only the challenges posed by the hardship we face, but the opportunity for us to be our best. At every Ontario university, extraordinary efforts have been made to support the students and communities we serve and to fight the pandemic.

Universities have worked closely with industry to help them retool to produce PPE, rapidly converted their courses to online to ensure continuous learning, and implemented comprehensive safety measures to create a safe and healthy environment for students, staff and faculty. I encourage you to visit our website to learn about some of the ways universities have stepped up to help.

And although the road to recovery will be difficult, now is the time to work together to build the foundation for a more prosperous Ontario. To help support our province now, and in the next chapter in the fight against COVID-19, our institutions have developed a 5-point plan that outlines how universities will continue to partner to empower and support students and communities; connect people and ideas; drive the innovation that helps create jobs and bring made-in-Ontario solutions to market.

During these challenging times, we must continue to produce a highly skilled and adaptable workforce that will foster economic growth and attract new investment such as the recent announcement to locate a $500 million life sciences research centre in Ontario due to our highly skilled STEM workforce and world-class universities. The students, workers and non-traditional learners who study at our institutions will need to continue to develop the life-long, adaptable skills that will drive innovation and economic growth.

Our institutions play a key role in their local communities as well – spending on capital projects, investments in infrastructure research and innovation all help drive local economies. These critical investments build community assets and attract top global talent which further drives growth in communities throughout the province.

Ontario universities are also committed to leveraging made-in-Ontario research and innovation to commercialize new technology and help modernize our manufacturing, health, natural resource and service sectors and increase opportunities for high-demand jobs that will help Ontario retool and rebuild.

To emerge successfully from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure Ontario has vibrant and financially sustainable postsecondary institutions, vital to the economic and social well-being of our province and all who call Ontario home.

Steve Orsini
President & CEO
The Council of Ontario Universities