Ontario AG audits four universities' financial management, here is what she found
Following the Laurentian University financial crisis, the Ontario Auditor General conducted audits on the financial management of the province's universities and released her findings Wednesday in her 10th annual report.
In the report – which includes 15 different value-for-money audits -- Bonnie Lysyk reviewed the financial operations at four of Ontario’s small to medium-sized universities in the wake of Laurentian University's unprecedented decision to file for creditor protection last year. LU emerged from insolvency Monday, two days ahead of its deadline.
Lysyk's audit finds all four universities audited – Nipissing University, Algoma University, Ontario Tech and University of Windsor -- are currently operating in a financially-stable manner.
The audit found Nipissing and Algoma had accumulated a surplus of funds and were financially stable at the time of the audit.
However, out of the four universities audited, only Algoma had a consistent surplus from 2016/17 to 2020/21.
- Download our app to get alerts sent to your device
- Get the latest newsletter sent right to your inbox
Nipissing and Algoma established debt policies in 2021, but limits would have been exceeded prior to 2019/20 if the new debt policies were applied retroactively.
The audit found neither Nipissing nor Algoma reviewed or monitored the profitability of the ancillary services they provide.
"(It) also determined the Ministry of Colleges and Universities does not have a clear strategy or long-term vision for the post-secondary sector," the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario said in a news release Wednesday.
"Ontario’s domestic tuition reduction and freeze and relatively low per-student funding have necessitated an increased financial dependence on international students’ tuition fees."
The report summary said in 2021/22, three of the four selected universities (Algoma, Nipissing, and Windsor) relied significantly on one country (India) for their international students.
The Sault Ste. Marie-based insitution's revenue was largely driven by international students from India who enrolled at its Brampton campus, the report summary said.
"As of 2021/22, the Brampton campus generated 65 per cent of the university’s revenue and 51 per cent of the university’s total enrolment; 90 per cent of Brampton’s enrolment are international students," it said.
Algoma University President and Vice-Chancellor Asima Vezina said all post-secondary institutions are focussing on the same thing.
"We’re just entering into a new strategic planning process right now which will guide the university into the next three years," Vezina said.
Nipissing experienced deficits in four of five fiscal years from the 2016/17 school year to the 2020/21 school year, causing it to draw down its net assets by $9.4 million.
The report found Nipissing was losing money overall on its academic programming prior to the pandemic and had not adjusted its program offerings.The school also has $34.7 million in debt from various construction projects.
"We believe strongly in the liberal arts institution and the entire board remains committed to that," said Nipissing University President and Vice-Chancellor Kevin Wamsley.
Nipissing relies primarrily on domestic tuition and government grants, with 99 per cent of its student population local.
"There are some challenges in the sector and Ontario, like other provinces, are trying to establish a sustainable university publicly-funded model," Wamsley said.
"We’re aware and the audit took place at the end of 2021 fiscal. So we’ve had a year and a half since then to work on a number of projects since then to support our revenues."
ONTARIO TECH UNIVERSITY
The Oshawa-based school had surpluses four of the last five years due in part to an increase in international student enrolment from various countries, the report summary said.
"As of March 31, 2021, Ontario Tech’s debt totalled $188 million. Ontario Tech did not always assess the financial feasibility of major capital projects before proceeding with them," the summary said.
UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
"Despite having the third-highest debt-per-student ratio among 19 Ontario universities, there was no policy in place limiting external financing. At the end of 2020/21, the university had $234.3 million in debt, primarily comprising debentures maturing in 2043 or after," the report summary said.
"In 2020/21, 60 per cent of international students at the university were from India and 12 per cent were from China. Over-reliance on a few geographic regions increases the risk that external factors, such as a global economic downturn or foreign policy shift, could significantly impact a university’s financial health."
Each university surveyed cooperated fully, was open for discussion and receptive to all recommendations made, the report said.
The audit includes 21 recommendations for improvement and said if issues are left unaddressed, weaknesses in the university's financial management practices could put the future of sustainability of the schools at risk.
Read the summary report here.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Members of Parliament are making their way back to Ottawa ahead of resuming sitting on Monday, as the city prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of 'Freedom Convoy' protesters.
The World Health Organization will announce Monday whether it thinks COVID-19 still represents a global health emergency but Canada's top doctor says regardless of what the international body decides, Canada's response to the coronavirus will not change.
Video released publicly Friday shows the husband of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fighting with his assailant for control of a hammer moments before he was struck during a brutal attack in the couple's San Francisco home last year.
The Liberals have spent years trying to pass online streaming legislation and now the current iteration, known as Bill C-11, is closer than ever to passing. With a potential parliamentary showdown ahead, here's what you need to know about how the contentious Broadcasting Act bill got to this stage.
Though you won't be able to sit on the old, cracked pleather benches and take in the thick smell of gravy and fries, while the gentle sound of clanging dishes provides the soundtrack for your lunch, Zellers plans to roll out food trucks for those 'craving a taste of nostalgia.'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on his Liberal caucus to meet the moment as Canadians deal with the high cost of living, a struggling health care system and the effects of climate change.
Pamela Anderson is addressing discussion about a story regarding her 'Home Improvement' co-star Tim Allen that is part of her new memoir, 'Love Pamela.'
The national Net-Zero Advisory Body released 25 recommendations Friday for how Canada can adjust its climate plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — a goal that the country is not on track to reach right now, according to the report.
The federal government posted a budgetary deficit of $3.6 billion in the first eight months of the fiscal year.
Midland council approved the town's operating and capital budget, which sees a 4.58 per cent tax levy increase or a 3.99 per cent blended rate.
Playtime Casino Wasaga Beach celebrated its grand opening Friday.
A school bus tipped into a ditch on Centreville Creek Road in Caledon Friday morning.
Three people have been charged after allegedly impersonating the owners of a Toronto home and selling it while they were away on vacation.
A Sunwing plane was forced to shutdown one of its engines midflight after experiencing issues after take off from Toronto.
Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a knee sprain, the team announced Friday.
Police increase downtown presence, access to Parliament Hill restricted on anniversary of 'Freedom Convoy' protest
Ottawa police and Bylaw Services are telling residents and visitors they will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to parking, noise and fireworks violations downtown this weekend, on the one-year anniversary of the 'Freedom Convoy' demonstration.
'Inexcusable and deeply troubling:' Ottawa police condemn Tyre Nichols' death as world braces for release of video
As the world awaits the release of a police video showing five officers viciously beating Tyre Nichols, Ottawa police have issued a statement condemning his death.
Ontario's ministry of labour is investigating after a man died in a workplace incident near Prescott, Ont.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have shut down a section of Perth Road 122 north of Stratford, Ont. as officers investigate a sudden death.
An Elmira woman born with Pectus Excavatum, a condition where her ribcage is caved in, is getting set for a life-changing surgery in May.
Residents had a chance to ask questions and raise concerns about the hybrid shelter planned for Erbs Road at a community meeting in Waterloo on Thursday night.
In a few months, you won’t be able to drive through Kincardine’s downtown. It will be a several block long construction zone.
Southwestern Ontario’s largest home show is back at the Western Fair District Agriplex this weekend.
After failing to appear for his sentencing hearing on a rash of sex-related crimes 10 days ago, a former London high school teacher who was on the lam for six days made a court appearance via video from the Sudbury jail.
A multi-million dollar Windsor, Ont., home is at the centre of a human smuggling investigation, according to federal authorities in the U.S.
'Saddened and appalled': Windsor police chief condemns Memphis police actions in Tyre Nichols’ death
Windsor police Chief Jason Bellaire has released a statement condemning the actions of the officers involved in a police-related death in Tennessee earlier this month.
A new report shows the rental unit vacancy rate in Windsor has hit a record low and the prices have increased.
Angela Orosz is one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust. On Dec. 21, 1944, she was born in a concentration camp. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazis and collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. More than two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population was killed.
A Quebec coroner says Montreal's Samuel-De Champlain Bridge must have a suicide-prevention barrier installed, after a 38-year-old man jumped to his death from the structure last May.
Three more people have been arrested in connection with a hammer attack on a 16-year-old boy Monday outside a school in Montreal North, police said Friday.
A fourth person has been arrested in the murder of a man in Saint John, N.B., last summer and now police say they are looking for a fifth person in connection with the case.
A jury has delivered a guilty verdict in the 2020 murder of a man from the Yarmouth, N.S., area.
The Nova Scotia government will help open a medical school at Cape Breton University, the same post-secondary institution that saw faculty go on strike Friday, by fall 2025.
Several schools in southeast Manitoba were closed Friday after a round of threatening voicemails came in over the last week.
Manitoba's finance minister is stepping down to run for a seat in the House of Commons.
There are hints the municipal funding freeze imposed by the former Pallister Government could be thawing.
The crash happened in the area of Highway 2 and Highway 581 just before 11:30 a.m.
Upward of five centimetres of snow fell in Calgary early Friday morning and officials said conditions were good, but the situation deteriorated later on Friday, leading to plenty of crashes and road closures.
If you have dietary restrictions, don't fret – there are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan hot chocolates available.
An Edmonton woman and her daughter whose catalytic converter was stolen in 2022 have won $25,000 for a product police believe will deter thieves from stealing the automotive part.
Three people have been arrested in connection with two homicides in Edmonton last January and a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for two other people.
The Alberta government says homeowners will still be seeing an energy rebate on their February utility bills, but it won't be as much as it was last month.
Mounties in Kamloops say the bones discovered along a hiking trail near the Trans Canada Highway last week have been identified as belonging to a Kelowna man who went missing in November.
Mounties are searching for a "high-risk" offender currently at large in B.C's southern Interior.
Warming centres and shelters across the Lower Mainland are preparing for what’s expected to be a bitterly cold weekend.