Ontario universities aligned with government’s Budget 2014 job focus

Universities support the provincial government’s job focus in the 2014 Ontario Budget released today, and are contributing to the highly skilled work force that will help strengthen Ontario’s economy.

Strong economic growth requires a highly educated work force and university graduates continue to have the highest employment outcomes of any educational group. The government’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund and Youth Employment Fund are aligned with Ontario universities’ goal to support graduates while spurring economic growth, innovation and jobs. Universities are continuing to transform their programs with more entrepreneurial and experiential opportunities in order to better prepare students for the future.

“Ontario university degrees are in high demand by students and parents and are also valued by employers around the world,” says Max Blouw, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. “University graduates have the highest employment and earnings of any group, and they create a profound economic impact on our province and beyond.”

The Budget:

  • Committed an additional $500 million over 10 years to address critical maintenance repairs at universities and colleges, which will help the sector meet the learning needs of today’s students.
  • Reiterated the plan to build new campuses to ensure access for students closer to home.
  • Committed $250 million over three years to research infrastructure, which will help institutions leverage funds from the federal government and other sources.
  • Announced new funding for the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo and for the Trillium Advanced Manufacturing Network at Western University.

“Universities understand the current fiscal constraints of government but, in coming years, Ontario’s citizens will expect and deserve strategic investments in university education, which help drive the provincial economy,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO.

“As the government moves toward a balanced budget, increasing university funding – currently the lowest per-student  in Canada – would improve quality, produce more entrepreneurial thinkers, and develop the talented minds Ontario needs for the future.”

Quick facts:

  • Ontario is home to 456,460 university students.
  • Our universities have accommodated over 153,000 new students since 2002-03.
  • 86.5 per cent of university graduates find jobs within six months, 92.2 per cent within two years.
  • Statistics Canada reports that university graduates have higher employment rates, and lower rates of unemployment than those who have any other level of education.


COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

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Wendy McCann
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