Economic stimulus should address $5B maintenance backlog

The umbrella group for Canadian universities and colleges is proposing the federal government include infrastructure on campuses as part of any strategy to stimulate the economy.

The 94-member Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada states a large portion of Canada’s university infrastructure was constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, or earlier, and suffered from fiscal retrenchment and deferred maintenance through the 1990s.

AUCC says a $5-billion backlog in deferred maintenance exists across the country. As a result, universities could launch a range of maintenance and renewal projects very quickly and provide immediate stimulus in many communities.

Describing its members as “important employers in more than 80 communities,” AUCC says communities benefit directly from university facilities such as hospitals, libraries, performance halls, art galleries and sporting facilities, as well as having ready access to academic expertise, learning opportunities and research activities that help address local issues or generate new businesses.