April 30th, 2020

$50 million in cuts coming at Mohawk, NDP calls for provincial support

HAMILTON — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, believes Doug Ford needs to announce emergency financial support for colleges and universities now, as Mohawk college reveals that $50 million in cuts are otherwise on the way.

“Universities and colleges have been hit hard by COVID-19. If Doug Ford doesn’t step in and announce financial support for them, the cuts to jobs, courses, opportunities for students, and our province’s research capacity will be devastating,” said Horwath. “Schools are critical to economies all over the province — from Queen’s University to Fanshawe College to Algoma University. Deep cuts to those institutions will have a painful ripple effect through their community’s entire economy.”

In the most recent provincial budget, Ford cut $700 million from Training, Colleges and Universities, and threatened to withhold as much as 60 per cent of what’s left if schools didn’t meet criteria designed by Ford’s administration.

On April 29, Mohawk College’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Armstrong sent a memo to all faculty and staff saying another $50 million in cuts will have to come as a result of COVID-19.

“As an organization, we will need to make some tough decisions. The impacts will be felt through all parts of Mohawk, and no one area is immune or exempt from finding cost reductions required to balance the budget,” reads the memo from Armstrong.

“Students and their schools were already being squeezed by this government,” said Chris Glover, the NDP critic for Colleges and Universities. “COVID-19 threatens to take away more opportunities — and force big hikes to students’ tuition fees and student debt.”

“It’s up to the province to help. We simply cannot leave students, universities and colleges — and the communities they support — to fend for themselves.”