Provincial government pulls $305 million plug on three GTA university campus expansions


The GTA Construction Report staff writer

The Progressive Conservative government has revoked funding for three GTA university campus extensions, including a $127.3 million commitment for a York University/Seneca College project in Markham that was set to begin construction by the end of the year.

The other two campuses cancelled include a partnership between Wilfred Laurier University and Conestoga College in Milton and one in Brampton with Ryerson University and Sheridan College.

The latter two projects were to receive $90 million each, bringing the overall funding cancellation to $305 million.

“We promised the people of Ontario to restore accountability and trust in Ontario’s finances,” Training, Colleges and Universities minister Merilee Fullerton said in a statement. “Part of that process means making tough decisions about projects across Ontario.”

Markham and York Region officials indicated they hope to find a way to continue the campus project, with an original $253-million budget. The City of Markham had agreed to contribute land, with York Region investing a further $25 million.

“York University is raising critical funds for this important facility,” York Region chair and CEO Wayne Emmerson said in as statement.

The Globe and Mail quoted a spokeswoman for Fullerton as saying that the ministry is working with the institutions to understand what has been completed “and if there are termination or reasonable wind-down costs.”

“Our government would be willing to consider a business case for how these projects may proceed in the absence of provincial capital funding,” Stephanie Rae said.

In a joint statement, Seneca president David Agnew and Rhonda Lenton, York University’s president and vice-chancellor, said the provincial government informed them of its “unexpected decision” late on Oct. 23.

They said that the campus project is “already well under way,” with the design and development-planning phase completed. “The procurement process to secure a construction firm is nearing completion and construction was set to begin later this fall,” they wrote.

“We are committed to working with all involved to determine if there is a path forward that will still meet the post-secondary needs of York Region and its residents,” they wrote.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.