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Message from President Barnard on changes to provincial operating grant

May 13, 2020 — 

A message from UM President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. David Barnard:

Throughout this challenging and uncertain time, I have committed to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible. I recognize and respect that the lack of clarity we have been dealing with as a community contributes to angst and anxiety during what is already a very difficult time in our world.

Today, I am sharing with you what we know right now. Though we continue to wait for written confirmation on provincial cuts to our operating grant, we have decided to share what we have been told by the Minister of Economic Development and Training, Ralph Eichler.

  • We understand that the provincial government will reduce UM’s 20/21 operating grant by 5 per cent or $17.3 million.
  • This includes a 1 per cent cut that we expect will be ongoing, and a 4 per cent reduction that we have been assured is for this year only.

We have already had to make some difficult decisions as we respond to work disruptions, revenue losses, and increased costs resulting from the global pandemic. We must continue to work together now to address additional pressures put on our budget as a result of this significant cut. The President’s Executive Team has been developing several budget scenarios to address this new reality, and we are committed to moving forward with a thoughtful, measured approach. Some of the tools we are considering include:

  • reducing discretionary spending,
  • hiring deferrals,
  • voluntary workweek reductions and
  • layoffs.

I continue to emphasise to government and our community that UM has always been and will continue to be central to Manitoba’s economic and social success. Post-secondary education will be crucial to the post-COVID-19 recovery, and our critical work continues as demand for post-secondary increases during these uncertain times. You, our faculty and staff, continue to do exceptional work in the midst of this pandemic and the challenging budget constraints.

It is at this point that we must remain focused on our shared mission and vision. Together, we support groundbreaking research, student success and impactful community engagement. Our critical work continues, despite disruption, and we must continue to collaborate and adjust if we are going to succeed in the face of these challenges.

As we move forward, I remain committed to share accurate and timely information with our community. Thank you for your ongoing commitment and resilience.

Sincerely,

David

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