Industry minister visits new UTSC building, touts government investment

The new Instructional Centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough is about more than a new school building, the federal industry minister says.

“This [centre] is part of a broader context, the broader context is the economy,” Tony Clement said while touring the centre March 15. “The economy remains the top priority of the Harper government.”

In 2009, UTSC received $35 million from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), which was matched by the provincial government.

KIP, a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure, was launched as part of the Economic Action Plan to help revive the economy during the recession. The program provides funding to universities and colleges to upgrade infrastructure and training facilities.

The Instructional Centre is the first stage of UTSC’s expansion of its North Campus and will increase space by 25 per cent.

The new building is great news for the university, students and researchers, said Clement, a former U of T student.

“As Canada continues to emerge from the global recession … we know as a government that investing in leading-edge research labs, libraries and learning commons is essential to creating high-paying, highly skilled jobs, both now and in the future,” he said.

UTSC Principal Franco Vaccarino thanked the government for its investment.

“With the government’s assistance, we are preparing our young people to meet the global competitive challenges they will face in the future,” he said, adding U of T is becoming a “destination of choice” for scholars.

The Economic Action Plan is helping strengthen Canada’s position in the world in research and academics, Clement said.

His visit comes just days before of the expected unveiling of his government’s budget, about which he said it will be “interesting next week on Parliament Hill.”

“If I can be so bold as to predict, you will see a sustained focus on protecting the financial security of hard-working Canadians and their families,” Clement said.

The Instructional Centre is part of UTSC’s efforts to upgrade and expand its facilities ahead of the 2015 Pan Am Games. The new building will include a coffee shop and restaurant, high-tech classrooms and labs.

The centre is set to open in May for the 2011 summer semester.