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Ontario Tech’s interdependent planning and budgetary contexts

This Fiscal Blueprint provides an overview of anticipated revenue streams and expenses for the 2024-2027 budget cycle. These projections serve as the foundation for discussing three different budget scenarios, each of which explores the opportunities and challenges created by variations in revenue and budget assumptions, and potential investments and budgetary reallocations as needed to realize our vision and mission, while also focusing on the realization of our strategic priorities as outlined in the Integrated Academic-Research Plan (IARP) and the Strategic Research Plan.

In a landscape filled with competing demands and a challenging fiscal context, this paper focuses on short-term priorities that will stimulate differentiated growth within the university and identifies the longer-term resources required for lasting success and sustainability. This approach helps us to identify areas for future investments while achieving tangible progress during the upcoming budget year.

Our strategy will firmly establish our university as a remarkable and highly regarded institution for both work and study. In doing so, we have kept in mind the following excerpt from the 'Looking Forward’ section of the 2023-2028 IARP:

  • “This goal is very ambitious given some of the long-standing and newly emerging fiscal challenges we are currently experiencing. The ongoing financial pressures, created by the imposed 2019 cut to tuition, followed by the ongoing freeze in domestic tuition rates and static grant funding, are growing in magnitude. The grant funding model is scheduled to shift to a new, previously untested performance-based funding model with potentially less predictable outcomes. Moreover, skyrocketing inflation and rising interest rates are reducing our spending power and are having a negative impact on our students’ cost of living expenses. Rising rental accommodation rates due to low rental unit availability in Oshawa, as well as bottlenecks in the processing of international student-study permits and visas are a few examples of the real and unanticipated barriers for students wishing to pursue their studies at Ontario Tech. These challenges will require all of us—every member of the Ontario Tech community—to accept a role in supporting our students and the sustainable future of our institution. We must pursue a bold transformation agenda that builds on our unique program offerings and the current momentum of our student demand. This transformation would see us growing to 18,000 students by 2030 to meet the needs of the increasing Greater Toronto Area university-aged population and international demand for science, technology, engineering, math and professional programs. This growth will provide revenues needed to cover the costs of expansion (including enhanced academic and non-academic student, staff, and faculty support services) as well as invest in our priorities and differentiation.

Moving forward, staying focused on a combined growth-differentiation agenda aligned with our core strategic priorities (Tech with a conscience, Learning re-imagined, Sticky campus and Partnerships) while adapting to a new post-pandemic reality is crucial. In doing so, we will be data-driven, constantly evaluating the value of our efforts and holding ourselves capable in a constrained fiscal environment. We will grow our revenues, be efficient in our costs and purposefully invest in our priorities. At the same time, we will continue to be accountable for ensuring that our graduates are employable and that the generation, analysis, retention, and meaningful translation of our research efforts support the greater good of society. Importantly, as we move into our next decade of existence, we will continue to envision ourselves as a growing community hub, a place where people will come together to meet and engage in social and cultural activities that reflect community needs.

This plan has an important role in keeping us collectively focused to realize a sustainable future for Ontario Tech. It also aligns our activities with our vision, mission, values, strategic priorities and resources. This is exceptionally important during periods of prolonged fiscal restraint such as the one we have now experienced for some time. Our fiscal uncertainty is further complicated by the broader degree-granting privileges now found within the province’s colleges as well as a growing number of industry-based education and training programs. We are being pressed to do more with less while also being held to greater levels of accountability by government and society in general.”

Building Ontario Tech’s budgetary assumptions

In addition to emphasizing the need for differentiated growth within our institution, the 2023-2028 IARP reaffirms our commitment to our four strategic priority areas: Tech with a conscience, Learning re-imagined, Creating a sticky campus and Partnerships, and challenges us to lead as a forward-thinking university. To achieve this, we must identify opportunities within a fiscal context fraught with real constraints and pressures, one that will necessitate ongoing fiscal discipline to address budgetary challenges and allocate resources for our initiatives. We remain committed to growing our enrolment numbers while also finding efficiencies and new ways of doing things.

As we look to the next three years, our assumptions are grouped into two main categories: revenues and expenses. These assumptions are framed and expanded upon based upon currently available information. As new information becomes available throughout the budget cycle, revisions will be made. This is important as any shift in the assumptions, positive or negative, will impact the budget.