Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government will announce their plans to support colleges and universities on Monday.
The Minister of Colleges and Universities was questioned about how the cap on international students will affect the sector, which is already experiencing financial burnout as a result of a five-year tuition freeze.
Ford had previously ruled out tuition increases as a way to ease the financial struggles.
In response to inquiries during Question Period, Jill Dunlop blamed the federal government for their decision to reduce the number of new student visas by 35 per cent.
“This is going to be an impact across Ontario and the federal government did absolutely no consultations with the provinces or with the sector,” she said. “As I have said, we will be announcing our path forward shortly.”
On Friday, the premier confirmed that an announcement would be coming on Monday. He did not provide further details, although The Toronto Star has reported that about $1 billion in funding may flow to Ontario universities and colleges.
“I’m going to leave that for Minister Dunlop to announce on Monday, and she’ll be giving all the details. It’s a really, really good announcement,” Ford said.
Dunlop is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. at Queen’s Park. The news conference will be streamed live on CTVNewsToronto.ca and the CTV News app.
Colleges Ontario has previously asked for a five per cent bump in tuition as well as a 10 per cent increase in operating grants.
A government-commissioned report also found that Ontario should end its post-secondary tuition freeze and increase per-student funding for universities and colleges. The report also suggested the institutions’ dependence on international students, especially the province’s colleges, needs to be recognized as a “financial risk.”
Here’s what else happened this week at Queen’s Park:
The government tabled their ‘Get It Done Act’
Ford immortalized his campaign catchphrase in legislation this week, tabling an omnibus bill that would make renewal of licence plates automatic, ban tolls on provincial highways and institute a referendum for carbon pricing.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement and answers questions at a press conference in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, February 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
There weren’t many surprises in the bill other than a reversal of a reversal on urban boundary changes.
A full breakdown of the bill can be found here.
Bonnie Crombie sidesteps carbon tax questions
On the first day of the 2024 legislative session, reporters asked new Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie repeatedly whether she supported a carbon tax.
The questions came after Ford called her the “queen of carbon tax.” Instead of answering, Crombie called the premier’s tactics a stunt meant to distract Ontarians.
Regardless of whether it was a stunt, Crombie refused to say whether she would impose a carbon tax if she was elected premier. She said that the Liberal caucus had yet to discuss the issue and she wanted to consult with experts and stakeholders.
Principals to be given more power to assign teachers
A new regulation posted this week allows principals to assign a teacher without a background in technology to a technology course, if the teacher agrees.
Typically, if a teacher is assigned to a topic in which they do not have the qualifications, the principal must get a Temporary Letter of Approval from the Minister of Education.
This regulation removes that requirement for the new technology classes instituted by the province. It’s only available for one year, with renewal possible “based on need.”
The teacher and principal must mutually agree on the assignment.
Changes coming for vehicle collision reporting
The province is considering increasing the damage threshold for Property Damage Only collisions from $2,000 to $5,000.
Previously, if a vehicle incurred less than $2,000 worth of property damage and no bodily injury was sustained, the driver would not be required to report the collision to police.
More on these changes can be found here.
Ontario cities getting ‘big cheques’
The premier has started to roll out funding to municipalities who have achieved, or on track to achieve, their provincially mandated housing targets.
So far, the City of Toronto has received $114 million and Brampton has been given just over $25 million.
Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, left, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, pose for a photo with a cheque to the City of Toronto for housing development at Toronto City Hall, in Toronto on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press)
Expect the premier to make a number of these stops over the next few weeks.
Other bills, regulations and conversations:
- Ontario’s top doctor warned public health units of potential measles outbreaks ahead of March Break.
- Ontario repealed Bill 124 as promised after two failed court attempts. Here’s what you need to know.
- When questioned about the RCMP’s Greenbelt legislation, the government directed the NDP to the “authorities.”
- The government tabled a bill to reverse an OEB decision they say would have increased the cost of new homes by more than $4,000.
- Housing Minister Paul Calandra hinted the government’s new housing legislation was coming “soon.”
- Crombie is “seriously considering” running in the Milton, Ont. byelection.
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