On Campus

Feds announce more infrastructure funding for universities

Ontario will get nearly $1.5 billion to build “long-term capacity for research and innovation”

The federal and Ontario governments will spend nearly $1.5 billion over the next two years on infrastructure projects at Ontario’s universities and colleges.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said Monday the $1.476 billion will give short-term economic stimulus to communities in the province and help strengthen research and innovation.

“Our government’s investment provides significant short-term economic stimulus in local communities throughout Ontario, while at the same time strengthening Canada’s long-term capacity for research and innovation,” Clement said in a statement.

“The renewal of college and university facilities will encourage more world-class researchers to work in Canada and give them the tools they need to make further discoveries that will benefit Canadians and people around the world.”

The spending will include $587 million in federal funding, $641.2 million in provincial funding and $248.1 million from other sources including the private sector and the universities and colleges themselves.

The monies will come from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program announced in the 2009 budget, a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at Canadian post-secondary schools. They will be used to support deferred maintenance, repair and expansion projects at the colleges and universities.

A total of 28 projects at post-secondary institutions throughout the province will be beneficiaries of the first round of funding with another round of qualifying projects to be announced Friday.

Funding released to the schools included:

  • $137 million for the University of Guelph and Conestoga College
  • $31.23 million for Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • $50 million to the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a centre established by Research in Motion (TSX:RIM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie
  • $70 million for the University of Toronto’s campus in the eastern suburb of Scarborough
  • $80 million for the University of Ottawa

“This is wonderful news for the University of Guelph, and it will stimulate our local economy by creating jobs,” said Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph.
“This investment by the provincial and federal governments will provide the leaders of tomorrow in environmental sciences with up-to-date teaching and research facilities at the newly renovated Axelrod building.”

The money will help colleges begin construction on projects that will create new jobs this summer, Colleges Ontario president and CEO Linda Franklin said in a release. It will also add more spaces for new students, which is critical as the recession has increased the numbers of students applying, she added.

“This funding will help colleges to begin construction on projects that will create new jobs this summer while at the same time creating new spaces to support students pursuing post-secondary education.”

The association said college applications are up 10 per cent for programs that started in January, nearly double the 5.1 per cent increase in January 2008.

– The Canadian Press

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