Funding announced in Ontario’s 2021 budget
Ryerson University’s proposed medical school in Brampton received provincial backing Wednesday, as the Ontario government released its 2021 budget.
According to the document, “the province is providing financial support to Ryerson University in the planning for a proposal for a new institute of medical education in Brampton” — though an exact dollar figure was not disclosed.
“Ryerson is excited with today’s announcement in the Ontario budget that commits to the development of a new institute of medical education in Brampton and expansion of Brampton’s local health-care system,” university president Mohamed Lachemi said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the city to increase our post-secondary offerings and delivering high-quality education opportunities for the next generation.”
In a news release Thursday, the university said that the proposal will include detailed curriculums, research plans, strategies for student placements, and specific operating and financial plans.
In the same release, Lachemi said, “thanks to the support from our provincial government, Ryerson can build upon the strength and foundation of our faculty, researchers, and deep and broad community and industry partnerships to help shape the future of health care.”
The statement also indicated that a series of community consultations for Ryerson students, faculty, staff and alumni will begin this spring, led by the School of Medicine Planning Committee, in order to ensure the proposal “aligns with the university’s values, goals and priorities.”
In response to the government’s announcement on Wednesday, the university tweeted that it “is looking to the future with a proposal for a medical school in Brampton,” while also thanking Premier Doug Ford, Brampton MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, and the ministers for colleges and universities, and finance.
In February 2020, Lachemi presented a proposal to Brampton city council entitled United for Brampton – Leveraging Higher Education to Drive Brampton’s Economic and Health-Care Outcomes, which included a vision for the medical school which would operate as a partnership between Ryerson University, Algoma University, and Sheridan College.
According to the Brampton Guardian, Lachemi said during the presentation that “our approach is focusing on innovation in health care,” and that “the centre will serve as a point of origin for community-based clinical education.”
In its news release, the university expanded on that vision, saying the proposed medical school would be built on a foundation of community and socially focused health care, technology-based practices, interprofessional networking for future physicians and seniors’ care.
The investment towards a medical institute comes less than two years after provincial funding for Ryerson to develop a satellite campus in Brampton was cancelled.
The former liberal government, led by Kathleen Wynne, had announced in the spring of 2018 that it was committing $90 million for a Ryerson satellite campus near the Brampton GO station. However, that funding was cut later the same year, after Doug Ford’s Conservative party took office.
Despite that loss of funding, Ryerson has continued to increase the university’s expansion into the city. In February, the Internationally Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD) Bridging Program — started in 2015 at Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education — was moved to Brampton (though it is currently being run virtually due to COVID-19).
According to a Ryerson press release, ITMD’s co-founder, Dr. Shafi Bhuiyan, said the program is designed to “build local capacity by putting the expertise of Ontario’s thousands of under-employed or unemployed internationally trained medical professionals to work.”
Brampton is also home to several other partnerships and programs with the university, including another health initiative, the Ryerson Venture Zone (RVZ) incubator. According to the school’s website, RVZ is “helping entrepreneurs pilot their health and wellness business in the Canadian market.”
The latest proposal of a medical school will further increase the university’s support for, and investment into, the city of Brampton.
This story was updated on March 25, 2021 at 6:15 p.m. EDT with comments from Ryerson University.