BRAMPTON UNIVERSITY PROPOSAL: MAYOR LINDA CONFIDENT, CRITICS QUESTION
BRAMPTON – On the heels of Minister of Finance Charles Sousa’s announcement of provincial funding to bring a post-secondary institution to Brampton, the City has been working to plan out the next steps in the process. But Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey who is hopeful the university’s dream in the city can be realized for the hard work put in by the Blue Ribbon Panel, a large number of critics are questioning how is it possible in the absence of the basic ground work such as investment, venue or tie-up with another university.
Mayor Linda Jeffrey has commented: “The Council has re-affirmed their gratitude for the hard work of the Blue Ribbon Panel, and endorsed the next steps City staff will be taking to ensure we have a university partner that meets the needs of our residents and the business community, while meeting all the criteria of the call for proposals.”
“We’ve identified a core team of highly qualified staff to focus on securing the right university partner for Brampton,” said City Chief Administrative Officer, Harry Schlange. “Securing a university is a foundational priority of our Strategic Plan. Brampton is one of the youngest, fastest growing, most diverse cities in the country. Together with Council we will transform this city to be an innovative player on the global stage.” There are several main components to the City’s work plan. Staff will connect with the Brampton business community to set the stage for a working relationship with the future university – both in terms of accessing a future talent pool and also collaborating on research, innovation and commercialization.
The City also has strong partnerships in place with post-secondary institutions already in Brampton, namely Sheridan College and Algoma University. Staff will be working with these institutions to see how these relationships can be built into plans for a new university in Brampton. Meetings are already being set up for the City to better understand the goals of the different levels of government for a university in Brampton.
While the full details of the Province’s expectations will not be communicated until the call for proposal, staff will be meeting with Sean Conway, Chair of the Province’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel. This Panel’s report, released in June of this year, is a key document informing the Province’s decision-making in its university plans. The City will be reaching out to gain a clearer understanding of the federal government’s direction and the roles of the Region and local municipalities. Through the Blue Ribbon Panel, the City has already connected with several universities, and now anticipates enhanced conversations that reflect the Province’s preference in program focus and its clear commitment to invest in Brampton.
Any further decisions about location and financial commitments can’t be made until a university partner has been secured. More detailed options will be analyzed once the successful university has been identified and its needs, and the details forthcoming in the Province’s call for proposals, have been studied. The government will launch a call for proposals in January 2017.
The Province’s plan is to create new postsecondary facilities focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – skills important to current and future employers, and often grouped together under the acronym Steam. Meanwhile, Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon has also said that the city is ready and working for it aggressively.