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As it did when it was first tabled ten weeks ago, the Provincial Budget, tabled yesterday in Ontario’s Legislature, continues to shortchange students, staff and the communities that host the province’s universities, local and provincial leadership from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) warned today.

“The Wynne government has now tabled the same budget twice, and that’s a double dose of disappointment for students, their families, as well as our members,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), which speaks for university workers represented by CUPE in Ontario.

“When this budget was tabled May 1, it failed our universities and the students, families, staff and communities that rely on them. Now, ten weeks later, the vision outlined for post-secondary education in the same budget remains a failure of chronic underfunding,” she added.

Despite the government’s own reports recognizing that post-secondary education funding needs to rise between three-and-five per cent just to maintain the ‘status quo’, the budget only provides a one per cent increase across the sector.

The net result, says Karen Hofman, Brock University’s representative to OUWCC in St. Catharines, will be “more layoffs and a further erosion of quality post-secondary education across Ontario and here in Niagara region.” Brock University is currently facing a round of 85 staff layoffs that will negatively affect quality of life and education on campus.

Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, urged the government to adequately fund Ontario’s universities.

“Having the lowest per capita funding for post-secondary education shouldn’t be a point of pride,” said Hahn, adding, “the only way for Premier Wynne to keep her promises to build Ontario up, while balancing the budget and without making cuts to public services, is to make profitable corporations pay their fair share by fully restoring the corporate tax rate.”

For more information, please contact:

Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President, (416) 540-3979

Janice Folk-Dawson, OUWCC President, (519) 766-8376

Karen Hofman, Brock University OUWCC Representative, (289) 219-2122

Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641