OTTAWA—While today’s Fall Economic Statement introduced measures to address the housing crisis and rising unaffordability, Canada’s universities remain concerned by the continued lack of measures to support students, develop talent and advance research.
As Canada looks to build a strong economic future that works for Canadians, universities are essential drivers of the talent needed to compete in the global economy. Universities are anchors of their communities and must be part of any solution to address Canada’s worsening housing crisis, fight climate change and create jobs.
We are encouraged the government is taking the housing crisis seriously. The new $15 billion announced for the Apartment Construction Loan Program and $1 billion for the Affordable Housing Fund will help to increase the supply of housing Canada desperately needs. However, to deliver important new housing projects and alleviate pressures for students, universities need access to low-cost financing and eligibility as applicants under the newly announced programs. We are hopeful the government will take these further steps. Housing affordability is a top concern for Canadians, and universities are a part of the solution.
We were hoping the government would take this opportunity to respond to the Report of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Ecosystem, which calls for sustained increases to federal support for fundamental science, including direct support for graduate and postdoctoral researchers. These investments are essential to ensure Canada has the domestic research capacity we need to attract and retain top talent, especially in emerging sectors. Without robust advanced research training opportunities, Canada’s workforce will fall behind peer countries competing for investment.
Canada’s universities are studying the implications of the proposed changes to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The government previously noted the CCAA was created to avoid potentially worse, uncontrolled outcomes in rare instances of financial distress. The government has not indicated how these risks will be mitigated in an environment where many universities are seeing public funding decrease significantly.
“We are disappointed today’s Fall Economic Statement contained no support for students, higher education and research” said Philip Landon, interim president and CEO, Universities Canada. “Looking forward, Budget 2024 will be a pivotal moment for Canada. Prioritizing investments in Canadian post-secondary education is imperative for ensuring Canada remains competitive. Navigating economic challenges demands an approach that propels Canada forward not backward on the world stage.”
Universities are calling for a bold vision for Canada – one that recognizes the need to bolster Canadian research and keeps Canada competitive on the global stage. With the ongoing threat of economic stagnation in Canada, it is a critical moment to invest in the people and ideas needed to drive our country forward.
About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.
Assistant Director, Communications
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