Ontario increases funding to renew and modernize colleges and universities

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

The Ontario government recently announced $466 million for critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewals at universities and colleges. This investment under the Facilities Renewal Program (FRP) includes:

  • $144 million in 2020-21, an increase of $73 million over last year
  • $144 million in 2021-22
  • $178 million in 2022-23

In 2020-21, Queen’s University will receive $4.4 million in capital funding from the Ontario government.

“The first-class education students receive at our postsecondary institutions is critical to the future of Ontario, our economy, and the prosperity of our people, said Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano.

“This investment will allow institutions to address their deferred maintenance backlog, undertake critical repairs, modernize classrooms, upgrade technology and improve their environmental sustainability. In addition, institutions may use the investment to pursue renewal of infrastructure campus projects, creating economic stimulus opportunities for local communities.”

The Ontario government is also investing $20 million through the College Equipment and Renewal Fund (CERF) to help Ontario colleges purchase and renew instructional equipment and learning resources.

Funding is also being used to purchase equipment to support student virtual learning during COVID-19 – a total of $164 million in capital funding in 2020-21 to help colleges and universities ensure that their students, faculty and staff have modern and safe learning environments.

“Well-maintained facilities and the latest in learning tools and equipment are critical parts of a postsecondary education at Queen’s University,” said MPP David Piccini.

“The need to invest in the maintenance of existing infrastructure is now balanced with the need to invest in new infrastructure which will be a tremendous boost for local communities looking for much needed economic stimulus on the road to recovery. By investing in postsecondary infrastructure, we are supporting economic recovery, creating jobs and ensuring students obtain the skills they need for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.”

At Queen’s University, Provost Mark Green says $4.3 million will be used for facility upgrades at using sustainable technology.

Ontario’s Action Plan sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

Colleges and universities can use funds from the FRP towards projects that support the renewal and modernization of campuses. This includes major building systems upgrades, roof repairs, heating and ventilating system upgrades, and mechanical and electrical system upgrades.

“Ontario universities welcome this funding for university infrastructure. This support helps our institutions continue to provide modern learning environments for students, operate more efficiently and renew our facilities. It will also help address the growing capital needs of our institutions, generate local employment opportunities and drive growth in communities across Ontario,” said Steve Orsini, president and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities.

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