May 5, 2014
The Board of Trustees approved the university’s budget for 2014-15 at its May 2 meeting. The $483-million operating budget was developed over the past year as shared service and academic units presented their individual budget plans to the Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Budget (PACB).
“The university will once again have a balanced budget in 2014-15, but many financial challenges remain,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The pension solvency deficit is the most significant financial risk on the horizon in 2015-16, and our deferred maintenance backlog of $243 million and inflationary cost pressures make it challenging to operate in this time of static or declining government grants and constraints on tuition fees.”
The university’s pension solvency deficit, which was estimated at $292 million as of Aug. 31, 2013, could require the university to make large annual payments to pay down that deficit beginning in 2015-16 and the university will begin planning for that eventuality.
The budget was prepared under the activity-based budget model, which helps align the budget planning process with the university’s strategic priorities.
“Financial sustainability is one of the key drivers in the university’s strategic framework, and it is integral to advancing our mission as the research-intensive university with a transformative student learning experience,” adds Harrison. “We were able to maintain the budgets of shared services constant in 2014-15 relative to 2013-2014 and we are continuing to look for opportunities to contain costs across the institution.”
With the 2014-15 budget approved, the process of planning for the 2015-16 budget will begin shortly. The shared service units will be first to develop their budget plans for review by the PACB, which will make budget allocation recommendations to the Provost. Once the shared service budgets are set, the process will then turn to the faculties and schools in the fall.