Last December, the Quebec government imposed funding cuts of unprecedented severity on universities’ operating budgets—$250 million between December 2012 and April 2014—on top of the cancellation of tuition increases. McGill’s own operating grant was reduced by a total of $38.3 million for FY2013 and FY2014. As a result, McGill's deficit rose to $13.1 million in FY2013. If we had opted not to act, it will have surpassed $40 million in FY2014. This has been one of the most serious financial crises we have ever faced.
McGill opted to face this sudden and very steep drop in our University’s operating budget head-on and without delay. Thanks to remarkable efforts of our employees, we are on-track to meeting our cost reduction target (a $43.5 million reduction in our operating budget), by the end of this fiscal year, FY2014, while protecting McGill’s coreacademic and research missions and avoiding large-scale staff dismissals. This is, by all accounts, an extraordinaryachievement. As a result of our collective effort, the University will be back on track to balancing its budget as of FY2015 and set to repay, over the next five years, the additional debt we were forced to incur over the last and the current financial year. This forecast is based on no further shocks to our funding.
The imposed cuts to our operating fund have forced us to take tough measures. We are truly sorry that, though necessary, some of these measures will cause distress for members of our community. We can promise, though, that even as we work to absorb these government cuts, we will stay the course with the successful academic programs we offer, and develop new means to support our students, staff and professors. At the same time, we hope to emerge from this challenge as a more nimble organisation, one able to quickly adapt to fast evolving changes in the outside world. We commit to preserving and growing McGill’s achievements in spite of this financial challenge. We also commit to working with the government on gaining more felxibility in financing our operations.
Throughout this time, this website will remain a clearinghouse for up-to-date information about the cuts, including:
- A timeline of events: how we got here, and where we’re going
- A range of facts and figures that clearly and transparently explain our situation
- Details of the cost-reduction measures we need to implement to reach our required target of $43.5-million in operating funds.
The months ahead will continue to be challenging, but McGill’s strength stems from the contributions of our talented students, and our devoted faculty and administrative and support staff. We have faced cuts and adversity before, but our community has remained, against all odds, a special place to study and work. As we adjust to new challenges, we’re going to make sure that stays true.