An aerial shot of Brampton. WYLIEPOON/CC FLICKR

The Ontario government announced on October 26 that it will be supporting ventures to build new post-secondary institution sites in Brampton and Milton.

A news release published on the Ontario government’s website said that the sites would be “focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM)” although it did not specify which universities will be selected to manage the new locations.

Brampton and Milton are located in Peel Region and Halton Region respectively, just outside of the City of Toronto. The Ontario government explained that the university sites would be built in order to accommodate the regions’ growing population. “Investing in postsecondary education,” the news release read, “is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.”

U of T had previously expressed an interest in “establishing a presence in Brampton” in September 2015.

The Varsity spoke with Ulrich Krull, UTM’s interim Vice-President and Principal, about whether or not U of T was still interested in developing a site in Brampton. “U of T was invited last year by the City of Brampton to discuss potential partnerships,” he said. “The response of U of T was that the University serves all communities in the GTA, and that the University was open to discussion to explore mutual benefit for the City, the University and the Province.”

“Some preliminary discussions ensued, but the Province did not proceed with its plans to have a competition,” said Krull. “Discussions did not proceed to review details and formulate any decisions. The recent announcement by the Province will rekindle the discussions.”

Krull also noted the ambiguity with the term, “university-led postsecondary sites,” in the news release.

“The announcement by the Province speaks about a ‘site’ in Brampton, with a level of funding support that could represent a renovated or constructed building, but not a campus,” he said, “The University and City [of Brampton] are awaiting further details from the Province before discussion can proceed as there is no indication of how operating costs would be supported, and this is essential to planning of sustainable investments in programs and infrastructure.”

Wilfrid Laurier University had submitted a proposal for a Milton campus, but it was rejected by the province in March of 2015. The university confirmed that it will be re-submitting a proposal for a Milton site.

Speaking to The Varsity, Kevin Crowley, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Communications & Public Affairs Director said that the university looks forward to sending in its proposal and has been “working closely with the Town of Milton, Halton Region and other community partners since 2008 to develop plans for a university campus in Milton.”

Proposals for the new university sites will be accepted in January 2017.

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