Federal and provincial governments invest $25 million in Osgoode

Osgoode Hall Law School at York University will be renovated completely and expanded with $25 million of federal and provincial government investment. 

The project, which has a total cost of $50 million, crossed the last hurdle with the announcement on Friday, May 29 that the federal and provincial governments will contribute a total of $25 million under the Federal-Provincial Knowledge Infrastructure Program toward the cost of the construction. The remainder of the funding will come from the many alumni and other donors who have made gifts to The Building Osgoode Campaign and from York University.

Peter Kent, minister of state of foreign affairs (Americas), John Milloy, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, and Mario Sergio, MPP for York West, joined York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, Osgoode Hall Law School Dean and VP Academic & Provost-designate Patrick Monahan and about 100 invited guests for the announcement at the law school.

Above: Osgoode Hall Law School following its renovation and expansion as presented in this architectural rendering

"This Government of Canada investment in the York University Osgoode renovation and expansion will not only expand one of Canada’s foremost law schools, but will also provide a significant short-term economic stimulus to this corner of the GTA and will create jobs in this region," said Kent. “Our government is investing in innovation to create jobs, to help our economy recover quickly and to improve the quality of life for Canadians.”

“Investing in people and skills is a priority for the Ontario government,” said John Milloy, minister of training, colleges & universities. “Through these investments, we are not only creating construction jobs today but providing more resources for students and faculty to anticipate the needs of a new economy and help shape Ontario tomorrow."

Right: President Mamdouh Shoukri (left) chats with MPP John Milloy (centre) and MPP Mario Sergio

“This is the most important development for Osgoode since our move to York 41 years ago,” said  Monahan. “It will transform our building into one of our greatest assets, giving us a student-centred facility that is the best amongst Canadian law schools and amongst the best in North America.”

Both Shoukri and Monahan gratefully acknowledged the vision and commitment of the federal and provincial governments and all of the donors to The Building Osgoode Campaign. In particular, Monahan singled out businessman and philanthropist Ignat Kaneff, who gave a gift of $2.5 million to The Building Osgoode Campaign, for special recognition.

“It was Iggy who said ‘I’ll be the lead donor for your campaign,’” said Monahan, who admitted to being so excited about the building announcement he had to pinch himself a couple of times “to be sure that this was really happening.”

Some of the design features of the Osgoode renovation and expansion project, which has been designed by architect Jack Diamond of Diamond & Schmitt Architects Inc., include:

  • a single-storey addition over the library that will house new student services including a cafeteria and lounge, and administrative offices;
  • an atrium, with a skylight running the east-west length of the building, that will link the addition with the existing building as well as improve natural light and provide a central meeting space and thoroughfare for the new building;
  • a new glass-enclosed entry pavilion above the east entrance;
  • the creation of space for centres and programs including the Law Commission of Ontario, the Jay and Barbara Hennick Centre for Business and Law, IP Osgoode, and the Collaborative Urban Research Laboratory (CURL);
  • space for the world’s first dispute resolution centre and electronic courtroom, the Paul B. Helliwell Centre for Innovation in Dispute Resolution;
  • reconfiguration of the library for increased student access;
  • the addition of flexible classroom space and more faculty offices, and 
  • a redesign of the existing structure to promote increased contact between students and faculty and improved access for persons with disabilities.

This was the second announcement of infrastructure funding for York in a week: on Monday, the two levels of government announced $70 million in funding for a new life sciences building at York. (See YFile, May 25.) 

Above: York administrators and representatives of the federal and provincial governments pose with Ignat Kaneff (centre), head of the Kaneff Group of Companies and a key supporter and donor to the Osgoode expansion and renovation. Pictured from left are: York President Mamdouh Shoukri, York West MPP Mario Sergio, MPP John Milloy, Ignat Kaneff, MP Peter Kent, Sanford Murray, president of the Osgoode Legal and Literary Society, and Patrick Monahan

"I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for their vision and their understanding of the importance of funding the postsecondary sector," said Shoukri. "This investment in Osgoode Hall Law School is a vote of confidence in York and it will help us build a better learning and teaching environment for our faculty, students and staff."

The renovation and expansion of Osgoode’s 41-year-old building, which is expected to take about two years, will commence this summer. Click here to watch a video of the announcement.