Volume 94, Issue 86

Tuesday, March 6, 2001


Seventeen suitors vie for VP spots

Bank boss says PhD deficiency disturbing

McMaster staff take to the picket lines

If you like to strike, you're not alone

Cancer care move scares CUPE

Head injuries give police headaches


Corroded Disorder

Bank boss says PhD deficiency disturbing

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

The balance-sheets of big banks met the textbooks of higher learning last week when Toronto Dominion Bank's chairman expressed concern that Canada is not producing enough intellectuals to ensure economic growth.

"At precisely the time when the 'knowledge-based' economy is crying out for better educated workers – people who can think and solve problems – we have seen a shocking decline in education spending," said Charles Baillie, TD Bank chairman.

"The health of our universities is critical to the health of our economy," he said. "Universities don't just incubate new academic theories. They fuel research that leads to the development of industrial clusters around campuses."

Baillie said losing Canada's brightest to the United States should not be the only source of concern.

"Not only are we letting our brains drain to the South, we are not even producing as many highly educated brains in relation to our population as we did five years ago," he said, adding Ontario has no more PhD students now than it did in 1991, when the province's population was a million smaller and the economy was less dependent on skills and knowledge.

While steps are being taken by the federal and provincial government to correct the problem, a stronger commitment is needed to help Canada stay competitive with the US, Baillie said.

At the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, spokesperson Kerry Delaney said the government is sensitive to the realities of the province's economy.

"We agree it's a very important issue to handle the growth that is going on," she said, adding the government has undertaken many projects to address the issue of growth, including increasing funds for university infrastructure.

Richard Ivey School of Business professor, Rick Robertson, said the lack of PhD students is not unique to Canada.

He said US schools are facing the same problem. "The demand far exceeds the supply," he said.

"Certainly one of the huge challenges our society faces is who will be the professors of the future," Robertson said. "Right now it's a huge challenge for universities to attract faculty. If you take a look at all the opportunities, being a professor is not as lucrative as the other options that are available to qualified people."

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