Feb. 28, 2020

UCalgary will continue to respond to challenging budget situation

Committed to achieving fiscal restraint while leading innovation and economic growth and diversification in the Calgary region
Alberta Legislature
Alberta Legislature

Yesterday, the Government of Alberta tabled a budget that continues to emphasize fiscal austerity. A preliminary assessment of the budget 2020-21 suggests a further six-per-cent reduction in funding to the University of Calgary from last year.

The estimated reduction in funding represents a decrease of $26.7 million to the Campus Alberta Grant, which is utilized to support our teaching and learning endeavours.

The Infrastructure Maintenance Program’s funding, previously cut by the government, was reinstated to its 2018-19 levels.

This year’s funding cuts come in addition to the in-year reductions that took place in 2019 that included a $32.9-million reduction to our Campus Alberta Grant and a $22.5-million reduction to our infrastructure budget.

We acted quickly to respond to the 2019 in-year cut and balance our budget by making several difficult decisions, including:

  • reducing the size of our workforce by 250 positions and implementing a hiring restraint
  • eliminating, slowing or deferring more than 200 initiatives and projects (e.g. reducing the number of open houses for student recruitment in some markets, reducing professional development opportunities, reducing the length and breadth of faculty orientations)
  • reducing discretionary spending (e.g. limiting travel, holding fewer community engagement events, limiting catering, reducing print marketing and advertising)
  • reducing maintenance and facilities upgrades and preventive maintenance activities
  • reducing and cancelling some IT projects and delaying the purchase of new equipment.

We will act quickly again. “We recognize the ongoing austerity of the current economic climate in Alberta and we will continue to do our part to meet the fiscal challenges presented in Budget 2020,” said Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. “We will share our plan to balance the 2020-21 budget with the campus community following deliberations with our Board of Governors this spring.”

“As one of Canada’s top six leading research universities, our university has achieved global teaching and research excellence while ensuring public funds are managed with the utmost care,” added McCauley. “We have strategically invested in new programs and initiatives to develop talent, drive innovation, and attract investment — spurring economic activity, creating jobs, and supporting the growth of new industries and economic diversification for the Calgary region. While these cuts are very significant, UCalgary remains steadfast in maximizing our impact in the community and the benefits we deliver to society every day.”

UCalgary has tentatively scheduled a budget town hall meeting for March 16. Additional details will be provided to the campus community at a later date.