Ontario budget earns passing grade from students

There’s more classroom space and training opportunities for post-secondary students thanks to the 2010 Ontario budget.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced Thursday that provincial government plans to spend $310 million to add space for 20,000 new students into the post-secondary school system.

Duncan also announced the province will continue its Second Career program, which provides financial assistance for recently laid-off workers to train in college, with some $600 million to be set aside to add 30,000 Second Career students over two years.

Duncan said in addition to the government’s plan to accommodate more students in Ontario, they’re providing 50 per cent more space for international students as well.

“I just think this is just very good public policy to help sustain our post-secondary system,” he said. “It will create real opportunity, I think, for universities and colleges.”

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan speaks about future opportunities for post-secondary education in Ontario.


The provincial budget was met with a positive reception from student unions. National Executive Representative Hamid Osman says the budget was a victory for college and university students.

“The Canadian Federation of Students is pleased with the McGuinty government listening to the students by having more spaces for students,” he said. But, Osman said, the province needs a framework for tuition fees.

College Student Association president, Justin Fox, said he’s pleased the government is allocating money for colleges.

“The fact that post-secondary education is top priority once again with this government is just outstanding,” Fox said. “I think it’s very exciting for college students.”

However, not everyone was happy with the 2010 budget plan for Ontario. Progressive Conservative MPP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, Bill Murdoch, says the provincial plan for education is a lost cause.

“They talk about education for all these new students and we don’t know where they’re going to go,” Murdoch said. “I’ve been here 20 years and never heard a worse budget in my life.”

Progressive Conservative Leader, Tim Hudak was critical of the Liberals’ attempt to offset the impact of the recession.

“Today, Dalton McGuinty had the opportunity to show the bold leadership Ontario desperately needs and he failed to deliver,” Hudak said. “Ontario has higher unemployment than bankrupt Greece.”

Duncan also announced plans to freeze wages for civil service workers in the province. Ontario’s deficit is now projected at $19.7 billion for the end of 2011, down from $21.3 billion last October.