Saskatchewan's Opposition says the government is quietly clawing back money that it promised just six months earlier in its spring budget.
Advanced education critic Warren McCall said information from the University of Regina shows the government scaling back its operating grant to that university by 0.5 per cent, or $539,400. It has also scaled back a scholarship program at the U of R by $312,000.
"This government needs to do a better job of explaining when they've put out a budget that, in fact, the institutions can't count on the money," McCall told reporters. "This government comes trotting in mid-year and clawing money back."
Saskatchewan's finance minister, Kevin Doherty, was asked last week whether the government was making mid-year programming cuts. Doherty said he was unaware of any, but that reporters would have to ask each minister individually.
Today, Doherty said he learned after that conversation with reporters that the minister of advanced education had actually scaled back operating grants at a number of post-secondary institutions by 0.5 per cent, or a total of $1.4 million.
"That information is being rolled up to finance as we speak from all the reporting entities, from all the ministries, where they were able to find efficiencies and savings. That's being rolled up right now for the mid-year report which will be released by the end of this month," Doherty said.
The government notes the $1.4 million in cuts is from a total of $766 million in operating grants to those post-secondary institutions.
The Opposition wants to know, beyond advanced education, where else the government is cutting back spending. Doherty said the public will get those answers in the mid-year financial update at the end of November.
Here is how the cuts break down per institution:
- $539,000 from University of Regina
- $606,000 from Saskatchewan Polytechnic
- $20,000 from Campion College
- $19,000 from Luther College
- $35,000 from St. Thomas More
- $19,000 from First Nations University
- $10,000 from Dumont technical Institute
- $11,000 from SIIT
- $13,000 from Carlton Trail
- $13,000 from Cumberland College
- $25,000 from Great Plains College
- $34,000 from Northlands College
- $23,000 from Northwest College
- $18,000 from Parkland College
- $18,000 from Southeast College
The government said the University of Saskatchewan had cuts in other areas, so they were not affected by operating grant reductions.