Toronto

Brampton pushes plan for its own university in hope to combat brain drain

A few days ago, the city launched BramptonU, a movement to get an post-secondary institution built and prevent the brain drain some say is to blame for pulling talent away from Brampton.

Councillor believes city has the right ingredients to become an education destination

The city has launched BramptonU, a movement to get an post-secondary institution built and prevent the brain drain some say is to blame for pulling talent away from Brampton. (Shutterstock)

If the city of Brampton gets its way, there will be another university in the Greater Toronto Area. 

The city has launched BramptonU, a movement to get a post-secondary institution built and prevent the brain drain some say is to blame for pulling talent away from Brampton.

The push comes more than a year after the Ontario government scrapped a $300-million plan for creating a Ryerson satellite campus in in the city. The plan was initially outlined by the Liberals in 2014, but was cancelled when the Conservatives were elected in 2018, the government citing the province's then-estimated budget of $15-billion. 

Still, Coun. Rowena Santos says Brampton has the right ingredients for a university, and with a population of 600,000 the city would be able to host a school of nearly 30,000 students. 

"We are the only big city without a large competitive university," said Santos. "As soon as university age hits, a lot of our young people leave many of them don't come back… Our residents want this, they've been asking for it for years."

"Bringing a school to the city would also create jobs," said Santos. "More people would be working in Brampton instead of commuting outside the city."

Over the course of the next month, city staff will be calling residents to get their opinions on the matter. They'll also be approaching institutions and businesses to think through what types of programs would best suit a university in Brampton.

For Rosshane Vignarajah, who grew up in the city, a Brampton university is an excellent idea. 

"It would get people connected to the city itself. They'd stay local instead of travelling for school and then work," Vignarajah. 

The data gathered by staff will be presented to the province in the new year, and Santos says the government has already expressed interest. 

"We put forward some ideas to the province that met their new criteria of having a peak outcome based education," said Santos. 

The exact cost of the project is unknown.

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