Strong federal support for education and research
The economic package unveiled November 14 by the Liberal government in Ottawa totals $5 billion in additional funds designated for student financial assistance, cutting-edge technology in the classroom, graduate studies and to cover the full costs associated with research. While it is quite possible that an election will prevent any quick implementation of these measures, they will help universities in advocacy during that next federal election. All four national parties and all ten premiers have identified post-secondary education as a priority, and all Canada’s universities will be working together through AUCC to make sure that university funding is a priority on the federal scene in the months ahead.
The proposed funding is critical to Canada's ability to ensure a high quality education for all students in Canadian universities and colleges. It also addresses the indirect costs associated with research, including facilities, computer networks, libraries and other supports our researchers require to do their work. Universities have been carrying these costs for some time, and we are delighted the government has addressed this issue.
The proposals would also help universities to compete better internationally by reducing the funding gap that now exists with U.S. state universities. If we are serious about competing in a knowledge-based economy we must invest in our talent here at home, and give our students a quality of education that is second to none among publicly funded universities. The proposals would also make it possible for more international students to attend Canadian universities and provide greater opportunities for Canadian students to study abroad.
Earlier this year, both the federal and provincial governments announced significant new support for universities and colleges, recognizing that the funds were a critical investment to ensure economic growth in Ontario and Canada. This sends a clear signal that universities are beginning to turn the corner in terms of much needed operating and research revenue. However, we must continue our efforts to ensure post-secondary education remains a top priority on the national agenda.