Ontario’s next government needs to address colleges’ $100-million shortfall

Oshawa, ON – Ontario’s colleges face a province-wide funding shortfall of more than $100 million a year that the province’s next government needs to address.

“College education gives students a competitive edge in this knowledge-driven economy,” said Don Lovisa, President, Durham College. “It’s essential that we continue to deliver high-quality programs that produce job-ready graduates who are prepared with the skills and knowledge to succeed.”

A number of factors are affecting Ontario’s colleges, from declining enrolment to cost increases related to the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, per-student provincial funding has fallen every year since 2007-2008.

Ontario’s colleges currently receive the lowest per-student funding in Canada. The per-student revenue for colleges is lower than the amounts provided to Ontario universities and high schools.

Currently, colleges need an additional $100 million per year to maintain programs and services for students.

While some of the cost pressures were offset this year by an increase in international students, the increasing dependence on international student revenues to balance College budgets is not sustainable and therefore the long-term challenge remains.

As accelerating automation and innovations revolutionize the workplace, Ontario needs to invest in college education. More students need to acquire the specialized qualifications and expertise that lead to rewarding careers.

Colleges are calling for candidates in the provincial election to commit to investing in student success. Some of the options for addressing the colleges’ funding shortfall include:

  • Enhancing the annual operating funding provided to colleges.
  • Creating a tuition-fee framework for colleges that is distinct from the tuition framework for universities.
  • Developing a targeted funding increase to expand science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) programs by 30 percent over the next four years.

“Chronic underfunding is putting the long-term sustainability of college education in Ontario at risk,” said Lovisa. “Our next government needs to ensure we have the resources to provide students with the knowledge and expertise that lead to meaningful and rewarding careers.”


About Durham College

At Durham College (DC), the student experience comes first. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, the college offers more than 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 140 full-time and eight apprenticeship programs in a number of different disciplines, enabling them to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market. The college is also set to launch its first four-year degree program, the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management, in September 2018.

The Oshawa campus features the state-of-the-art Student Services building and will soon feature the Centre for Collaborative Education, a legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017. The new facility will bring together local, Indigenous and global communities, providing a new home for several of the college’s most innovative and ground-breaking programs.

The Whitby campus features the award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.