Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that construction would soon begin on a York University campus in York Region.
Ford said the Markham Centre campus will result in more than 2,000 jobs and will bring over $350 million in “immediate economic benefits.”
“The time has come for a new, innovative approach to financing college and university expansions. Instead of the province writing multi-million-dollar cheques, we have developed a system that encourages the development of new campuses with a much smaller cost to the taxpayer,” said Ford.
Two years ago, the Ford government cancelled more than $300 million in funding for the Markham campus expansion as well as other projects in Brampton and Milton, citing a large multi-billion-dollar provincial budget deficit.
The construction of the campus will begin shortly and the provincial government said it will aid in the region’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
“Markham will be home to York Region’s first public university campus, the largest university investment in the region. We are thrilled to announce that we have made significant headway with the plan to build the York University Markham Centre Campus,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said in a statement.
The campus, which is set to be 400,000 square feet and will accommodate 4,200 students, will be located just north of Highway 407 and west of Kennedy Road. It will be within a 10-minute walk of the Unionville GO Station and the Highway 7 VivaNext transit corridor.
The institution is expected to open in fall 2023 and will house programs in the fields of technology, commerce, data science and entrepreneurship at the undergraduate and graduate levels, according to the province.
“The Markham Centre Campus will offer professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials with a strong focus on digital technologies, entrepreneurship and experiential education in high demand areas such as business and entrepreneurship, data analytics, new media and communications,” York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton said in a statement.
“Located in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing communities in Canada, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with government, and the private and public sectors, to provide students with work-integrated learning opportunities while they study, and local job prospects when they graduate.”