The province announced Tuesday it’s cancelling funding for three university expansion projects in the GTA, including funding for a new Ryerson campus in Brampton, in partnership with Sheridan College.
In a news release, the Ford government cited Ontario’s $15-billion deficit saying it’s not “in the position to fund the projects given the province’s new fiscal restraints.”
“Our government committed to restore accountability and trust in Ontario’s finances,” the office of the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities said. “This includes making difficult decisions about projects across the province.”
Along with Ryerson, York University is losing funding for its expansion in Markham, and Wilfrid Laurier University for its expansion in Milton.
In an interview with the Ryersonian on Monday, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi spoke about the plans for the new campus.
“We are very positive that one day we will have a campus there,” he said.
“However, we have a new government in place, and the new government may have some different priorities. But also I know that they’re experiencing challenges in terms of the budget situation. The idea may take some time but at the end of the day, I’m very positive about the Brampton project because it represents an opportunity to do things that we are not able to do in Toronto.”
In April 2018, former premier Kathleen Wynne’s government had announced it would invest $90 million in a new satellite campus in Brampton in partnership with Ryerson. The City of Brampton would’ve contributed $50 million over the next 10 years towards the campus.
The Ryersonian attempted to contact President Lachemi’s office for a comment Tuesday night but didn’t hear back.
On Wednesday morning, Lachemi released a statement, saying the university will continue to work with its partners and the provincial government “to provide innovative academic programs that offer the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to succeed and thrive in the modern economy.”
Lachemi said his office plans to provide more details in the coming days regarding the Innovation Hub, Cyber Security programming, and The Chang School courses that were planned for the Brampton campus.
According to the province, the new campus was to focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programs and was expected to provide up to 2,000 new undergraduate spaces within five to 10 years of its opening.
The site was going to be located on the southeast corner of Church Street West and Mill Street North in Brampton. According to the university, it was expected to begin classes in September 2022.
Story updated Oct. 24
With files from Ryersonian staff