Board approves 2014-15 operating budget
At its April 16 meeting, Concordia’s Board of Governors approved the university’s 2014-15 budget and forecasts for 2015-16 and 2016-17. The budget takes into account annual cuts of $13.2 million to its operating grant, announced by the Government of Quebec in 2012. These cuts were made permanent in 2013-14.
The university is projecting total revenues of $394.8 million and total expenditures of $397.6 million, resulting in a deficit of $2.8 million in 2014-15.
“While we are living in a constrained fiscal environment, as a result of permanent cuts to our base budget, we must make strategic investments to support and advance our academic mission, and to position Concordia as a thriving next-generation university that offers its students an engaging and enriched academic experience,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard.
Key strategic investments identified in the 2014-15 budget are:
- Continuing the renewal of our faculty, including hiring new faculty members.
- Improving services to support students, including math and writing learning centres, and supporting the GradProSkills program.
- Strengthening the university’s research capacity by supporting new and existing Canada Research Chairs, participating in multi-institutional research centres and promoting undergraduate research.
- Promoting innovation across the institution, including initiatives such as the Curriculum Innovation Fund and District 3.
- Expanding our library collections.
- Advancing Concordia’s reputation world wide in research through partnerships and events such as the 2014 Congrès de l’Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas), and the Encuentro conference and festival.
“These strategic investments reflect our ongoing commitment to optimally support our students and faculty members, and to pursue excellence even when funding is tight,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs. “We need to foster emerging research and to promote innovation across the university, and we need to continue to enhance services to support students in achieving academic success.”
Constrained fiscal environment
CFO Patrick Kelley acknowledges that the current fiscal environment has a level of uncertainty. “What we do know is that the cuts to our operating grant are permanent,” he says. “However, we do not know what changes might result from the Chantier sur le Financement as well as the recent elections.”
Kelley added that the ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie has asked Quebec universities to sign a one-year partnership agreement, which could mean up to $11.9 million for Concordia in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
However, at this time, there is no commitment beyond the one year as the ministry and the Quebec Treasury Board await the results of the Chantier sur le Financement, expected to submit its report in June.
The 2014-15 budget was prepared based on a number of assumptions, including taking advantage of reinvestment funding announced by the Government of Quebec last year.
These funds fall under two categories: strategic reinvestment in specific funding such as teaching, research, students with disabilities and special needs, and financial debt repayment; and additions to the base cost structure.
However, Concordia must petition for the bulk of these funds and they are not meant to cover the permanent cuts nor anticipated cost increases.
Additional factors considered by the university in preparing its 2014-15 budget include:
- Continued cost reductions to address the permanent annual cuts to the university’s operating grant, effective 2013-14. These reductions will continue for two more fiscal years (2.5 per cent reductions for the academic sector and 6.8 per cent for all other sectors).
- Rising pension costs reflected in the combination of employer contributions and pension deficit funding, which will increase by 46 per cent over the next three years.
Upcoming budget conversations
In addition to meeting with Faculty Councils, the provost and CFO will co-host a series of budget conversations.
Due to limited space, pre-registration at the following budget conversations is required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and indicating what department/faculty you are with, as well as if you are a student, faculty member or staff member:
- Thursday, May 1, from 1 to 2 p.m., Room MB 2.130, John Molson School of Business Building (1450 Guy Street), Sir George Williams Campus
- Monday, May 5, from 3 to 4 p.m., Room EV-2.260, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.), Sir George Williams Campus
- Friday, May 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Room GE-110, Research Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.), Loyola Campus
- Thursday, May 15, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., RF 120, Refectory Building (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.), Loyola Campus
This story was updated on April 17 and April 22, 2014.