Brampton University still a possibility says Premier Doug Ford

Published January 27, 2023 at 1:39 pm

There’s still a chance for the controversial Brampton University project to become a reality according to Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Ford was in Brampton on Friday to announce the Bramalea Civic Centre has been chosen as the location of the first new medical school in the GTA in more than 100 years.

But Ford said there’s also still an opportunity for Brampton to get its own university.

“I’ll never say never because there’s always opportunities. As this community grows, they’re going to have needs and requirements,” Ford said at the press conference, adding that he’d be “more than happy” to sit down with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown to discuss bringing a university to Brampton.

The Brampton U project became mired in controversy and investigations last year after council heard more than $629,000 of taxpayer funds were paid to consultants. Much of the work paid for under the project has never been identified, and an audit of the project found consultants had links to both the mayor and Coun. Rowena Santos.

But that audit was cancelled in a motion by Brown before work was completed.

The City also received another blow to its post-secondary plans last year when the University of Guelph-Humber pulled out of relocating its campus to Brampton.

The auditing firm responsible for the Brampton U audit said in its draft report that  a number of interviews had not been completed before the investigation was cancelled, including conversations with BramptonU consultants Rob Godfrey, who is a personal friend of the mayor, and Daivd Wheeler, a former teacher and mentor of Santos.

Santos previously cleared her connection to Wheeler with the City’s integrity commissioner prior to the audit draft report’s findings.

Following the municipal election in October, one of the first orders of business for Brampton City Council was resurrecting the City’s controversial university advocacy.

A motion put forward by Brown reauthorized City staff “to undertake engagement in University Advocacy for the City,” undoing a previous decision by the previous council to freeze all work on Brampton University following months of heated debate on the project in council chambers.

While Bramptonians will have to wait for progress on a full-scale university, Brown said the province’s commitment to building the new Toronto Metropolitan University School of Medicine in Brampton is “a dream come true.”

“Sure, there are other things that a city would want, but you have to acknowledge progress when it’s happening because for decades we didn’t have progress,” Brown said of Brampton U and the new medical school.

The TMU School of Medicine could open as soon as 2025 and is set to receive 80 undergraduate seats and some 95 postgraduate positions. It will be the first new medical school built in the GTA in more than a century, and the first new med school in the province in more than 30 years.

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