Ottawa to spend over $21M on sustainable infrastructure projects at Humber College

Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced more than $21 million on Tuesday for two projects at Humber College in Toronto involving sustainable infrastructure.

All in, college will spend more than $63M to retrofit buildings on campus

Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, at podium, announces federal support for two sustainable infrastructure projects at Humber College in Toronto. (Humber College)

Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced more than $21 million on Tuesday for two projects at Humber College in Toronto involving sustainable infrastructure.

The federal money will enable students to create energy-efficient living environments and will retrofit buildings on campus to lower their energy use.

The Ontario government will contribute an additional $3.3 million in support of the projects, while Humber College will spend more than $39 million. That will bring the total investment to more than $63 million.

"By providing significant financial assistance to students and investing in the spaces where students learn, our government is building a brighter future for all Canadians," Duncan said Tuesday.

Humber College CEO Chris Whitaker said the announcement is good news for the school. The spending is part of the federal post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.

"With this announcement, the federal government has acknowledged the significant role that post-secondary institutions play in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, research and environmental sustainability," he said.

Minister promotes increase in student grants

At the news conference, Duncan also touted an increase in the federal students grants program that amounts to $1.5 billion over five years, with $684 million budgeted for this year and next.

The increase in spending means a 50 per cent increase in grants: up to $3,000 for low-income students, and up to $1,200 a year for middle-income students.

Students with outstanding federal loans are going to have to wait until November for changes to the repayment assistance plan to kick in and eliminate payments for anyone earning under $25,000 a year.

Student groups had hoped for the federal government to set that income bar at $35,000, but were disappointed to see the lower figure in the first Liberal budget.

The government has yet to announce details of its promise to ease eligibility criteria for student grants and loans by making it easier for students to work without fearing that the extra cash will mean roll backs in their financial aid.