Post-secondary institutions have been slow to receive the money promised by Ottawa

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OTTAWA – In the 2021 budget, the Trudeau government announced a new, $ 121 million for post-secondary institutions in minority settings. Now, almost a year later, these establishments are still not seeing the color of money, but the Minister of Official Languages assures us that it will happen soon.

The investment, which represents $ 40 million per year for three years, was announced in the Francophone universities and colleges followed the events at Laurentian University.

Confirms Canadian Francophonie Association of Colleges and Universities (ACUFC), representing 22 institutions across the country, yet none of its members have received nothing. The Minister of Official Languages Ginette Petitpas Taylor that protects itself, ensuring that the “good news” is coming.

“Some universities have received news that they will receive the money. Requests have been made and reviewed, but an official announcement has not yet been made (…). Just last week I signed off (approved) some requests. »

Reporting institutions due to the fact that end the fiscal year at the end of the month, to come and spend the money before March 31 to suit the budget of the current year. Parliamentary committee on Wednesday, Ginette Petitpas Taylor refused to confirm whether the funds returned at the end of the month. The president of ACUFC Lynn Brouillette maintains that these establishments have become “flexible” in their budgets the amounts promised by Ottawa.

“If they will, they will find solutions” – Joël Godin, Conservative Critic for Official Languages

However, there is some uncertainty whether the $ 40 million promised this year will be taken next year or if the amount is doubled in 2022-23 to compensate for the lack of funds this year. In an interview with ONFR +The Minister refused to specify what value is given to institutions next year, but repeated “with the university to know how much they receive.”

The delay, he said that cooperation in various provincial authorities are aggravating things.

“Sometimes it is not the federal government, we have to work closely with them and we have to wait for a request from the province to come to us, because we are not able to encroach the areas of our jurisdiction. »

Laurentian University has experienced some financial problems in recent months. Archives ONFR +

But the official opposition is not buying this excuse, regret the delay, which proves that Ottawa is “leave atgle” administrators of the establishments of the country.

“If they will, they will find solutions,” says Conservative critics of Official Languages was Joël Godin.

“It’s a lack of respect for individuals and institutions that breaks their hearts to offer education to the minority communities,” he continued. “Although Ottawa paid that amount, it is disrespectful to the organization. This 40 million has been announced that, that’s the problem, absurd, but liberal method.”

In New Brunswick, the Université de Moncton confirmed that ONFR + applied to the federal government and is still awaiting a response. The University has had to make a lot of cuts in recent years, costing more than $ 25 million.

“This model is not viable for a long time and does not allow the Université de Moncton to fully perform its role in Acadie and within the Canadian and international Francophonie, while maintaining accessibility for students and post-secondary that students with affordable tuition, “said Denis Prud’homme, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the Université de Moncton in a written statement.

Money makes the difference

For small francophone colleges and universities outside of Quebec, the money distributed by governments are essential for the proper functioning of their activities.

“It is significant value. The issue here is strong competition among institutions speak English, we need to stand up. We have good quality programs, but also others in the student life care. Wants students a interesting student life and for that you need the resources required in modern technology, “said Lyne Brouillette.

This week, Ottawa announced that it provides $ 3.8 million in the Saint Paul University for the construction of a pavilion with money, however, part of another $ 80 million envelope for education infrastructure. . The province also provides the same amount for a total of $ 6.8 million.

“The six million dollars from a $ 25 million operating budget. This is 1/5 of our operations. Whereas for large university, the money will lose billions of dollars in budget, “estimates rector Chantal Beauvais.

The rector of Saint Paul University Chantal Beauvais
The rector of Saint Paul University Chantal Beauvais. Photo Credit: Pascal Vachon.

A few months ago, proved Mrs. Beauvais ONFR + without changes and a new influx of money, the Saint-Paul is in danger of closing its doors within 10 to 15 years. But if announcements like this multiply, the wind could turn quickly, he reveals.

“That’s funny the federal government, they know that their fragile institutions and the announcements came at the time they really need. »

During the election campaign, Liberals promised to double this amount to $ 80 million. The year of his tenure is not yet known, but everyone should know when the budget is released. The Finance Minister has not yet announced a date, but the final budget was filed in April.

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