By Joshua Dvorkin
Ottawa may be planning to allocate the federal buget’s $2-billion infrastructure fund for post-secondary institutions to science and technology projects rather than leave spending to each school’s discretion.
Dr. Paul Stenton, Vice Provost of Ryerson University Planning, feels that universities should be responsible for allotting finances as they see fit but it currently “depends on what programs are handed down from the government.”
Ryerson may receive up to $35 million from the $2 billion infrastructure budget.
The federal and provincial governments have asked universities to develop their own list of priorities which would then be reviewed by Ottawa.
Ryerson’s priorities, as indicated in a list sent to the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) included deferred maintenance projects such as replacing the roof of the Image Arts building, reducing asbestos and replacing fire alarm systems in Jorgenson Hall, the Podium, and Kerr Hall.
Both the federal and provincial governments will each pay for 50 per cent of each project while the other half would be funded by the university, but much of Ryerson’s share of the money depends on decisions from the provincial and federal governments.
“I don’t really have an answer at the present time. There should be more clarifications from Ottawa this week,” said Stenton.
Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said while the media has reported about how the federal government wants to allocate money, he’s heard no official word yet.
“We don’t know right at the moment how the federal and provincial government are going to relate to each other at it, and therefore what programs are going to be eligible….no university that I know of has details on that,” said Levy.
“In this area, what you hear on Tuesday is different from what you hear on Wednesday. Until you have something in writing…it’s all speculation.”