Nov. 20, 2019

2019 Budget impacts and strategies explained at UCalgary town hall

Plans guided by Academic and Research Plan priorities, budget principles, provincial mandate

On Nov. 18, UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall and Vice-President (Finance and Services) Linda Dalgetty shared a budget update following the release of the Government of Alberta’s 2019 provincial budget on Oct. 24.

The 2019 Government of Alberta budget delivered a five-per-cent cut to the post-secondary system in 2019-20, differentially applied, with further reductions in each of the next three years, to a total of 12.5 per cent by 2022-23. It also suspended the infrastructure maintenance program in-year, introduced a new performance-based budget model and will allow tuition rates to increase in 2020-21 by seven per cent in each of the next three years, with individual program increases capped at 10 per cent.

The University of Calgary’s share of the five-per-cent cut for 2019 is $32.9 million, or 6.9 per cent. For perspective, this cut to the base Campus Alberta grant is as large as the total budget of one larger faculty, or three small faculties. The budget impacts are significant, and decisions are guided by the priorities of the Academic and Research Plans, and several budget principles, including:

  • Alignment with vision and priorities
  • Student experience
  • Success of scholars

Our academic and research priorities, which form the roadmap to our Eyes High 2017-22 Strategy, provide direction in good and challenging times for the allocation of our human, capital, and financial resources. We will place university priorities over unit priorities while meeting our provincial government mandate.

What will be required to meet the target?

It is important to note that no academic programs are impacted in-year. In some cases, strategic initiatives and projects will be slowed, deferred, stopped or cancelled where warranted. Items like non-essential travel,  events, and limiting catering and printing will be significantly reduced or stopped.

A hiring restraint was also announced, which requires any current or future position postings to be justified and approved at the vice-presidential level.

To meet the in-year cut, 250 positions will be affected. One hundred positions will be eliminated through retirements, resignations and vacancies, and 150 people will have their positions terminated. The position terminations will be a combination of AUPE, MaPS and SLT employees. The job eliminations will start this week, and a second round will occur in mid-January.

These are very difficult decisions to make and will affect the entire UCalgary family.

This coming week, we are meeting with undergraduate and graduate students to discuss tuition and the proposals currently under consideration by the university.

We face significant budgetary challenges ahead, which require difficult decisions to be made to meet our provincial mandate. UCalgary remains fully committed to providing a rich teaching, learning and research environment, where our students have a rewarding experience, and our faculty and staff are fully supported. Our intention is for our university to come out of this budget process in a strong position to continue to meet our strategic priorities.