President updates community on new provincial budget
On Thursday, April 11 the Ontario government presented their 2019-20 budget. Key issues for universities include:
- No significant changes to university operating grants;
- A preliminary announcement regarding the introduction of performance-based funding for universities to be negotiated through Strategic Mandate Agreements;
- A proposal to introduce amendments to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and; Universities Act, that, if passed, may address employees drawing salary and pension payments simultaneously;
- Reconfirmed consultation on broader public sector compensation including the intention to introduce a new executive compensation framework; and
- The creation of an expert panel tasked with delivering an action plan for a provincial intellectual property framework to maximize commercialization opportunities related to the post-secondary education sector.
Strategic Mandate Agreements
The provincial budget provided some insight into the upcoming negotiations on Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMAs) between universities and the government, specifically the increase of performance metrics tied to operating grants for universities.
While few details were provided, the budget indicated performance funding will begin at 25 per cent of the operating grant in 2020-21, rising to 60 per cent in 2024-25. This funding will be based on 10 metrics weighted to reflect each institution’s mandates and goals.
The government has previously signalled its interest in increased accountability. Ryerson University supports and understands accountability having long been accountable to three levels of government, our board of governors, students, faculty, stakeholders and partners. This is, however, a significant increase in the amount of performance related funding. As the SMA discussions progress, the university urges the provincial government to be mindful of the need to protect the long-term predictability of funding and the stability of our educational institutions.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The provincial budget section “Open for Jobs Blueprint” indicates that programs under the current Economic Development portfolio will be evaluated. The evaluative lens includes entrepreneurship and research and commercialization.
Ryerson University’s innovative approach to education is well aligned with the government’s action plan for maximizing intellectual property commercialization opportunities. Ryerson has recently partnered with other like-minded universities across Canada to bring global best practice programs to accelerate the commercialization of university IP and enhance the commercialization and entrepreneurial skills of our most promising graduates.
We have a strong track record of supporting and creating new businesses through our 10 zones including the DMZ, the top-ranked university-based incubator in the world. Ryerson also supports the growth of established and new businesses through multiple partnerships with organizations such as St. Michael’s Hospital and Bombardier, through regional economic development partnerships such as Brampton and Niagara Falls, and with companies and organizations across Canada.
Our university has also established innovation hubs in India, and Vietnam with local partners, and a presence in New York City for entrepreneurs who want to stay in Canada but expand their global customer base.
We are looking forward to a robust discussion of these important issues with the provincial government and to ensuring continued access to quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
President and Vice-Chancellor