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2019-20 Operating Budget

Loyola Campus CC building

Message from Denis Cossette, Chief Financial Officer

In paving the path for Concordia to become a truly Next-Gen university, we must not only continue to invest in initiatives aligned with our Strategic Directions – initiatives that are daring, innovative and transformative -- but also bolster Concordia’s long-term financial sustainability.

We believe that the 2019-20 budget supports our bold strategic plans while allowing us to continue enhancing the student experience. Details can be found below.


Following the October of 2018 election, the new Government of Quebec has continued building on the previous government’s commitment to re-invest in the university sector following a series of government budget reductions that began in 2010-11.

In total, Concordia had suffered a cumulative loss of more than $90 million to its operating budget as a result of these reductions. Based on the reinvestment schedule, Concordia can expect to have fully recuperated the impact of budget reductions by 2022-23.

It is worth noting that the Quebec university sector is generally facing a decline in student population because of changing demographics. Concordia, by contrast, has enjoyed steady increases in enrollment in recent years. This is due in part to the fact that our international student population has seen a significant jump, from 12.2% of the student body in 2011-12 to 20% today. Our graduate student population has seen similar levels of growth, from 16.7% in 2011-12 to approximately 20% in 2018-19.

Concordia is well on the way to becoming the Next-Gen institution it aspires to be and as such, can boast a wide range of innovative and ground-breaking initiatives that are underway.

Having made remarkable gains in research over the past decade, we’re poised for another period of substantial growth in our overall research profile, as well as increased recognition for our innovative approach to teaching and learning.

A significant decision by the Government of Quebec

On March 21, 2019, the Government of Quebec announced a change to its university funding formula with regard to international students (except those from France and Belgium). As of September 1, 2019, Quebec will no longer provide any funding for international undergraduate students, and professional or non-research Master's students. These students will be considered ‘de-regulated.’

In contrast to the rest of Canada, the Government of Quebec will continue to fund universities for international PhD and research Master's students. This is important because the ongoing funding will allow us to continue building our research capacity both here at Concordia and more widely, in Montreal and Quebec.

Our response to this change in Government of Quebec funding is to bring Concordia’s tuition fees for future international students more in line with the average of our peers through fee increases that are modest by comparison with national trends. This approach will allow us both to address the gap in funding and continue to support international students.

Key financial directions

In our aim to continue supporting Concordia’s academic and research mission, we are choosing to invest in three key areas via the 2019-20 budget: teaching, research and student support. This takes the following forms:

  1. Support for our faculty, through base budgets;
  2. Support to students, through new scholarships and bursaries as well as additional Student Services capacity; and
  3. Support for research and academic initiatives, including investing in the Indigenous Directions Leadership Group action plan and further developing such innovative spaces as 4th SPACE and District 3.

One of the key priorities of last year’s budget was to reduce our annual deficit. We are pleased to be able to report that we achieved this objective in 2018-19, one year earlier than anticipated.

Looking forward, our goal is prepare for 2020-21 and the years thereafter, continuing to allocate resources strategically, manage our costs prudently, and target the $23 million deficit accumulated since 2008-09.

To do this, we will need to focus on strategic enrollment planning and continuing to exercise robust financial discipline. We are confident that with the measures we have put in place, the future is a bright one.

Denis Cossette
Chief Financial Officer

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