10/24/2018 10:38 EDT | Updated 10/24/2018 10:44 EDT

Ontario Cancels Funding For 3 Post-Secondary Campus Expansions

The previous Liberal government announced plans to spend more than $300 million on the projects.

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The Brampton campus project is a partnership between Ryerson University and Sheridan College.

TORONTO — Funding to expand three post-secondary campuses in Markham, Milton and Brampton has been cancelled by Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government.

Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of training, colleges and universities, says in a news release the province is not in a position to fund the expansions because of its $15 billion deficit.

The previous Liberal government announced plans to spend more than $300 million on the projects.

Construction was set to begin in fall

York University and Seneca College are partners in the project in Markham, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College formed a partnership in Milton, and the Brampton campus is a partnership between Ryerson University and Sheridan College.

York and Seneca say construction of their satellite campus was set to begin this fall and they are calling the funding cancellation an "unexpected decision."

The decision to build the new campus in Markham was approved in May 2015.

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The Ontario government had pledged $127 million for the project. Its funding commitment meant work could begin developing programs, partnerships and building designs for the campus, the two schools say in a statement.

The schools say Markham and York Region have committed land, additional funding and planning support for the new campus.

The campus was expected to open in the fall of 2021.

Stephanie Rea, a spokeswoman for Fullerton, says in a statement the ministry is "working with the institutions to understand what has been completed and if there are termination or reasonable wind-down costs. Our government would be willing to consider a business case for how these projects may proceed in the absence of provincial capital funding."

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