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Mayor Jeffrey University Op-Ed – October 10, 2017


October 10th, 2017

We are now a couple weeks into the school year and every morning thousands of Brampton students begin a long commute to their chosen university or college campus in the Greater Toronto Area.

Over time I’ve been able to chat with some of these post-secondary students about their experience. They spend hours commuting in order to pursue their education and along with it their dream for a better future.

These students are excited that finally, Brampton will host a university campus. While some may not be able to personally take advantage of our local univeristy, they know that their children will not have to endure the long commutes and stress that they are currently experiencing.

For years previous Councils had a vision to bring a university to our City, but failed to make it happen. During the election I made a promise to achieve this vision during this term of Council, and shortly after becoming Mayor I created the Blue-Ribbon Panel chaired by our former Premier, the Honourable William G. Davis to tackle the issue.

The panel’s mandate was to prepare a successful business case to attract a university campus to the City of Brampton. Panel members included representatives from Council, education, business and community leaders. As Canada’s ninth largest city, Brampton had the unfortunate distinction of being the only municipality without a university campus among the top ten cities in Canada.

Ryerson University in partnership with Sheridan College successfully put forward a proposal accepted by the Province and in September Council unanimously approved an investment strategy that will assist them in delivering on that promise. These two leading institutions with a reputation for innovation, applied learning, as well as city and community building, are going to truly transform Brampton.

Our City’s investment will be delivered in two parts – up to $50 million over 10 years towards the university campus and an additional $100 million towards a joint-use innovation and community infrastructure. Ryerson envisions a shared space for community, business and students – in a new downtown library that will allow for collaboration, and space for innovation incubators, entrepreneurship and cultural programs.

Ryerson President and Vice Chancellor Mohammed Lachmi is already anticipating how Ryerson will be able to deliver unique cross-curricular academic programs to prepare for upcoming workforce changes in the global economy. He has spoken about how he sees a Ryerson’s campus in Brampton as being a catalyst for regional growth with the benefit of helping to transform our city. Ryerson will deliver job ready graduates in the high demand fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics to support the prosperity of not only our community but that of Ontario.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all the members of the Blue-Ribbon Panel for helping identify a lead applicant who is distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive. Ryerson has grown dramatically over the last ten years and is home to more than 43,000 students in Toronto. They are committed and excited to engage our city together with our residents in delivering unique high quality experiential learning in Brampton.

The opportunity to secure a new campus in Brampton will pay enormous dividends to our city and have a significant, transformative impact on the entire region helping us build a better, smarter and more competitive Brampton.

Education has the power to inspire dreams, to build hope and opportunity for individuals and their families where none existed before. Brampton is on the cusp of an incredible transformation and this Council’s bold investment demonstrates our faith in the future of our youth, our residents and our businesses, and to disrupting the status quo in our City.