BC budget supports UVic initiatives

On Tuesday, Feb. 20 the provincial government tabled Budget 2018 which includes support of a UVic law program that will be the first of its kind in the world, funding for tuition waivers for former youth in care and a change in the policies for financing of student housing, which will help with the construction of a new UVic residence.

The new joint-degree law program is groundbreaking in its intensive study of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous law, enabling people to work fluently across both realms. The program is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action 50 to establish Indigenous law institutes for the development, use and understanding of Indigenous Law.

“The Indigenous law degree builds on UVic’s longstanding commitment to, and unique relationship with, the First Peoples of Canada as well as the Indigenous scholarship for which UVic is known internationally,” says UVic President Jamie Cassels, welcoming the overall government investment in post-secondary programs and priorities.

In a change in the policies related to the financing of student housing, the provincial budget allows post-secondary institutions to borrow money directly from the government, benefitting from the province’s low borrowing rates.

UVic started consultations and planning last year to meet the demand for campus accommodation that far exceeds what’s available.

 “This will allow UVic to proceed with confidence with plans for a new two-building student residence that will add about 600 new beds and a new dining hall,” says Kristi Simpson, associate vice-president of finance and operations.

The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training's budget will increase by $57.9 million from 2017-18 to 2018-19, including an increase of $6 million over three years for tuition waivers for former youth in care. UVic is among BC post-secondary institutions that had set up awards, bursaries and other supports to help former youth in care cover the costs of their education.

The ministry's budget also includes $2.6 billion in capital spending at post-secondary institutions over three years for housing and current and planned investments in infrastructure.

The ministry's service plan is available.

The government had earlier announced in January additional funding to expand UVic’s undergraduate engineering and computer science programs. The province is investing $11 million in funding to post-secondary institutions to support programming in computer science, engineering and information technology, bringing their total commitment to $36 annually by 2020/21.

In other areas, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation has earmarked $50 million for Indigenous language revitalization through the First Peoples Cultural Council, and $5 million to over three years to support its enhanced mandate to establish a clear, cross-governmental vision of reconciliation which includes progress on the TRC’s Calls to Action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and treaty transformation.

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Keywords: administrative, Indigenous, law, student life, government, budget, residence, campus plan, tuition, engineering

People: Jamie Cassels, Kristi Simpson

Publication: The Ring


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