Western applauds province’s support for universities

The University of Western Ontario has welcomed news from the McGuinty government that post-secondary education remains a key component in rebuilding the province’s economy and in solidifying Ontario as an excellent place to do business.

The 2010 provincial budget was released earlier today by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

“It takes vision and courage to invest in the young people of today when looking towards the future health of Ontario’s economy, especially at a time when the government is facing such significant fiscal challenges,” says Western President Amit Chakma.

“And for the investment made today in Ontario’s universities, we salute the McGuinty government for their vision and courage.”

Chakma says he was pleased with plans to aggressively promote Ontario post-secondary institutions abroad, as this strategy is a cornerstone of Western’s future plans.

“One of our goals at Western is to produce global citizens and leaders for generations to come,” says Chakma.

“Having the best and the brightest students from around the world coming to Western only enhances that objective.”

Ontario’s pledge to create 20,000 new spaces in colleges and universities for the 2010-11 academic year is a major commitment, says Chakma, and will be necessary, as Premier Dalton McGuinty has stated his belief that 70 per cent of future jobs will require post-secondary credentials.

As part of its ‘Open Ontario Plan,’ the government is also developing a wide-ranging water strategy that will build on the province’s expertise in clean-water technology.

Chakma says this ties in perfectly with Western’s recent announcement of a joint collaboration between Western, Trojan Technologies and the City of London to develop a Wastewater Treatment Technology Centre, a unique test-bed facility for researchers.

“We see very special and unique opportunities for Western to respond quickly and productively in this field,” says Chakma.

“We have the researchers and infrastructure in place to fulfill this promise now.”

The 2010 Ontario Budget also signaled the government’s desire to see restraint in compensation increases within the broader public sector.

Chakma says that when additional information is provided by the government, the university will be in a better position to comment on that aspect of the budget.