URFA Statement on the Provincial Government’s 2020-21 Budget Estimates

Yes­ter­day, the Provin­cial Gov­ern­ment pre­sent­ed its bud­get esti­mates for the 2020 – 21 fis­cal year. While the bud­get con­tained an increase of 1% to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regina’s oper­at­ing grant, and an $11 mil­lion increase to post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion in Saskatchewan, there is still a need for a much larg­er re-invest­ment in post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion in the province. 

Due to cuts made by the provin­cial gov­ern­ment in past years, the Uni­ver­si­ty has made choic­es that have affect­ed both the work­ing envi­ron­ment of URFA mem­bers, and the learn­ing envi­ron­ment of stu­dents. Work­loads have increased, and the reliance on pre­car­i­ous labour, includ­ing ses­sion­al instruc­tors and term posi­tions, is becom­ing the new nor­mal. Stu­dents have been affect­ed as well, as a decade of tuition increas­es has had an impact on the afford­abil­i­ty of obtain­ing an edu­ca­tion at the U of R. A re-invest­ment in post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion would put us on the path towards ensur­ing more sta­ble employ­ment for URFA mem­bers, and more afford­able edu­ca­tion for students. 

In her mes­sage address­ing the provin­cial bud­get yes­ter­day, out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Vianne Tim­mons not­ed that, despite a fund­ing increase, the upcom­ing bud­get would still be a chal­lenge.” As the Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares its bud­get for the com­ing year, we once again implore the Uni­ver­si­ty to look at all options that do not impact URFA mem­bers or stu­dents. The peo­ple that the Uni­ver­si­ty relies on for the suc­cess of the insti­tu­tion should not be the ones who have to face cuts or tuition increases. 

This is a dif­fi­cult time for many, as the out­break of COVID-19 has dis­rupt­ed the usu­al oper­a­tions of the Uni­ver­si­ty. In the face of this uncer­tain­ty, we ask the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to com­mit to ensur­ing fund­ing to off­set any unfore­seen costs the Uni­ver­si­ty may face as a result of this pan­dem­ic. It is our hope that the gov­ern­ment will rec­og­nize the impor­tance and need for a re-invest­ment in post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, espe­cial­ly dur­ing times of eco­nom­ic dif­fi­cul­ty and uncer­tain­ty, and com­mit to mak­ing post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion a pri­or­i­ty in Saskatchewan.