Ontario Universities Seeking Provincial Help to Meet Funding Shortfall

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An advocacy group representing Ontario's 21 universities says the sector is facing a shortfall of about half a billion dollars this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council of Ontario Universities says schools incurred significant expenses in the switch to remote learning, in implementing enhanced health and safety measures, and in providing personal protective equipment.

At the same time, it says, revenues from residences, facilities and other sources took a hit, for a combined loss of roughly one-billion dollars for the 2020-2021 school year.

The organization says institutions made one-time cuts and savings to bring that number down by about half, and are now asking for sector-wide support from the province to help make up the difference.

Steve Orsini, the organization's president and CEO, says the province has a number of options to support the sector, which would in turn support the workforce, the economy and the province's recovery.