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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2000

Ontario Universities Continue to Lose Ground

Statistics released last month by the Council of Ontario Universities show that the gaps in university funding between the provinces continue to grow and that Canadian universities are increasingly falling behind their American counterparts.

Ontario, Canada's richest province, ranked second to last among the 10 provinces and 50 American states when government spending on universities is measured over the 1995-96 to 1999-00 period. Total public funding, not adjusted for inflation, declined by more than 8 per cent in Ontario and by more than 4 per cent in the remaining nine provinces during this period. That stands in stark contrast to the average 28 per cent increase in state funding south of the border.

The COU says that among the provinces, Ontario also holds the dubious distinction of spending the least per capita on universities and having the highest student/faculty ratio.

"Provincial funding would have to increase by more than half a billion dollars just to reach the level of funding per capita of the other nine provinces," the council concludes.

The report also found that the number of faculty and staff at Ontario universities declined 10 per cent between 1987-88 and 1998-99, and that total faculty and staff salary and benefit costs are nearly 12 per cent lower today than in 1991-92.