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In lockstep with its private university law, Ontario has introduced a task force designed to further the privatization of service provision on public campuses.

The Investing in Students Taskforce, announced in September 2000, is charged with examining options for shared services and identifying best practices for administrative functions such as information technology, procurement and data collection.

Critics are concerned that best practices and other phrases are merely code for contracting out and privatizing services that are a vital part of the campus experience.

The task forces targets include: student financial aid administration; facilities planning, maintenance and use; purchasing; human resources; information technology, including data collection and web-based services; retail operations and ancillary services; registration processes and practices; counseling services; finance and reporting.

Despite the task forces mandate to consult with stakeholders, CUPE members have not been invited to any task force meetings. The task force has, however, consulted with groups who will reinforce its predestined findings, including the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). COU members have committed themselves to yearly reviews of whether to keep or contract out ancillary operations.

The task forces executive project director is Glenna Carr, past president and current board member of the pro-privatization lobby group the Canadian Council on Public-Private Partnerships. The task force was slated to report to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities early in 2001.