A new economic impact study, commissioned by Brian Stevenson, the president of Lakehead University, shows the northwestern Ontario university has an impact of more than $1.4 billion per year on the province's gross domestic product (GDP).

According to a written statement released by the university on Monday, Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus contributes about $1.3 billion per year to Ontario's GDP, while the rest comes from the campus in Orillia, Ont.

"Given the breadth and depth of Lakehead's social and economic connections within our local and regional communities, we were interested in re-examining how we look at our role and impact," Stevenson said, and "the results were eye-opening."

Associate Professor at Lakehead's Faculty of Business, Camillo Lento and the faculty's Dean, Bahram Dagostar were the two leaders for the study. They said "the amounts were estimated based on the university's operating and capital spending, student and visitor spending, alumni spending, human capital development, and research and development."

"Working with Statistics Canada, we used an input-output model to estimate the impact of our university's spending on Ontario's GDP," Dr.Lento explained.

They said while this report shows how important Lakehead University is to the economy of Ontario, Thunder Bay and Orillia, it also allows others to appreciate the connection the school has to the city and region.

"We knew, intuitively, that Lakehead Orillia was deeply connected to the economic well-being of the region, however this report unequivocally demonstrates the critical role that we play as a public university," said Dean Jobin-Bevans, the principal of Lakehead's Orillia campus.