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Ontario Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education

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Ontario Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education

Province supports new York University - Markham Centre Campus in Partnership with Seneca College

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Ontario is helping more students pursue a postsecondary education, developing the talent and skills of our people and growing the province's economy by supporting a new York University - Markham Centre campus in partnership with Seneca College.

The new York University - Markham Centre campus will serve an estimated 4,000 students in York Region, with the potential for more students over time. As a university/college partnership, the campus will offer a broad range of programs that incorporate experiential learning with an academic focus on business, arts and social sciences. It will also be close to local transit options and other facilities such as sports fields, the YMCA and the Atos Markham Pan Am / Parapan Am Centre.

In March 2014, the province released a competitive call for proposals to postsecondary institutions for new projects that would serve areas of the province where future demand for undergraduate education will be strong and where gaps in access are expected. The joint proposal from York University in partnership with Seneca College for a Markham campus was selected following a transparent and competitive process by an evaluation panel.

In spring 2016, Ontario will also issue a second targeted call for proposals for a postsecondary facility to serve the growing demand for postsecondary options in Peel and Halton regions. After York Region, Peel and Halton are the fastest-growing areas of the province and are currently underserved in terms of local postsecondary capacity.

Expanding the province's world-class postsecondary education system supports the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history, investing in people's talents and skills, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, the province issued a call for proposals to postsecondary institutions to expand or create new enrolment capacity in areas where demand for undergraduate education will be strong and gaps in access are expected.
  • An evaluation panel unanimously ranked the York University - Markham Centre proposal first among the proposals they assessed.
  • The proposal also received strong support from the City of Markham, York Region, area employers and other key partners.
  • The new Markham campus will be located north of Highway 407 between Kennedy Road and Warden Avenue in York Region.
  • Population growth over the next 20 years is expected to be concentrated in areas in and around the City of Toronto, including York, Peel and Halton Regions
  • Currently, the combined 18-24 year old population of Halton/Peel is almost 200,000 and is anticipated to grow by almost 20 per cent by 2035.
  • The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will be working with postsecondary institutions to update its inventory of capital projects that may address provincial priorities beyond major expansion, such as campus renewal and innovative approaches to talent, skills and training.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Continuing to enhance Ontario’s world-class postsecondary education system is critical to the future success of our province, and this includes expanding undergraduate capacity in areas with strong long-term demand and current gaps in local access. With today’s commitments, we are ensuring students in the highest-growth communities have access to local high-quality programs for decades to come.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

“We are delighted that Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government have recognized the strong merits of building a university campus in York Region. Today’s announcement acknowledges York University’s considerable strengths in supporting Ontario's vibrant knowledge economy and its position as a global innovation leader. This new campus will not only meet the increasing demand for high-quality education and workplace-based learning opportunities through a wide range of degree programs, including joint programs with Seneca College, but will also spur economic growth in one of the fastest growing major urban areas in Ontario.”

Mamdouh Shoukri

President and Vice-Chancellor, York University

“We are delighted to be York University’s academic partner in this exciting and innovative initiative. The new campus, thanks to the support of the Ontario government, York Region and the City of Markham, will serve today and tomorrow’s students with unique collaborative programs.”

David Agnew

President, Seneca College

“Today marks the beginning of a fabulous partnership to deliver a much-needed university campus to our region. This is a terrific investment from the province of Ontario, considering this is the No. 1 goal in our economic development action plan, and will enhance the region as a destination of choice.”

Wayne Emmerson

Chairman and CEO, Regional Municipality of York

“We are thrilled with the announcement of the first York University campus in Markham and York Region, which further strengthens the opportunities for students to thrive in their local community. Premier Wynne’s Government is to be congratulated for this commitment to higher education, which builds on the recent announcement of the GO line improvements to Markham Centre that will see 15 minute rail service. This is a great example of a shared vision and collaboration from the Region of York, Province of Ontario and York University.”

Frank Scarpitti

Mayor, City of Markham

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