York welcomes measures in the 2006 federal budget

York University welcomed Tuesday’s federal budget announcements of a $1-billion postsecondary education trust, $1.3-billion in funding for public transit, an enhanced Canada Student Loans Program, continued investment in research and development and the elimination of the capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated securities made to charities.

“It’s encouraging to see the government’s recognition and commitment for urgent postsecondary education projects,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden.”The funds are especially important for addressing building, facility and upgrade needs required to educate the next generation.”

The budget’s announcement of a $1.3-billion public transit capital investment fund is also significant for the University. “We welcome the acknowledgment of the importance of mass transit as recognized by the budget and in concert with the efforts of the City of Toronto, the provincial government and York Region; we fully anticipate that the Spadina subway extension will now proceed with confirming agreements from all levels of government,” said Marsden.

Improving the Canada Student Loans Program offers an important milestone for York’s student population. Tuesday’s budget highlighted expansion of the student assistance program and enhancements to student eligibility criteria.

The budget also provided an additional $100 million per year across Canada for research and development initiatives including:

• $40 million per year for the Indirect Costs of Research program;
• $20 million per year for the Leaders Opportunity Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation;
• $17 million per year for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research;
• $17 million per year for the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada;
• $6 million per year for the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The funding commitments allow York to continue its efforts to build opportunities for graduate students and expand its research and doctoral programs.

Tuesday’s budget eliminated the capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated securities made to charities. In making the announcement, the government highlighted its recognition that donations made by individuals help build capacity in the charitable sector, which in turn benefits Canada’s overall prosperity. This new legislation will make gifts of appreciated securities traded on North American and international exchanges an even more attractive philanthropic option for all donors.

“This is a huge opportunity for Canada’s charities,” said Susan Mullin, director of development at the York University Foundation and Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Government Relations Committee. “This policy change will dramatically enhance charitable giving in Canada. There are major donors across the country who have been waiting for this type of incentive so they can make their gift. The opportunities for organizations to build their capacity and expand their programs have now multiplied with this provision.”

This improved tax measure builds on the provision first introduced in 1997 that reduced the capital gains inclusion rate for gifts of publicly-listed securities by 50 per cent.  Donors to the York University Foundation wishing to make a gift to York of publicly-listed securities will now be able to do so without triggering capital gains inclusion.