Ontario budget provides $210 million to alleviate immediate cost pressures



    TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - The March 22 Ontario budget provides
$210 million to universities to alleviate immediate cost pressures. These
funds are one-time and come from Ontario's $390 million portion of the
Postsecondary Education Infrastructure Trust announced in the 2006 federal
budget.
    The province's 2005 Reaching Higher plan provided substantial new funding
for universities. Recently, however, the demand for university education has
outstripped those funding plans. Enrolments at Ontario's universities this
year, for example, were 14,000 students over the Reaching Higher projections.
Ian Clark, President of the Council of Ontario Universities, noted,
"Multi-year funds need to be added to deliver the quality results envisaged in
the 2005 Reaching Higher plan."
    Ross Paul, Chair of the Council and President of the University of
Windsor, said, "The province rightly pushed hard for fiscal rebalancing in
order to address postsecondary, health and social funding inequities. We
congratulate the Premier on his success in bringing several hundred million
dollars per year back to Ontario starting in 2008-09. Now we need to get the
conditions right for Ontario to put those dollars to work in university and
college classrooms."
    The Council of Ontario Universities affirms its commitment to work in
partnership with the Government of Ontario as the government negotiates with
Ottawa and other provinces concerning conditions on the new postsecondary
education funds. "The government and universities have both been encouraged by
this unprecedented demand for higher education," said Dr. Paul. "We've hit a
home run in access and participation. Now the new federal funds give us a
chance to ensure that this success is matched by the vital quality
improvements to which we are all committed."
    Underlining the critical importance of university research to Ontario,
Dr. Paul also welcomed the budget's commitments on research and innovation.
Ontario universities provided input to the Ontario Innovation Strategy, which
the government intends to release in the spring.




For further information:

For further information: Jamie Mackay, Vice-President, Policy and
Analysis, COU, (416) 979-2165 ext. 209; Dr. Ross Paul, Council Chair and
President, University of Windsor, (519) 253-3000 ext. 2000


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