"It's better to expand French colleges before adding capacity to Dawson." – Legault
Dawson College's long-awaited expansion project has been shelved. In a statement, college Director General Diane Gauvin said Minister of Higher Education Danielle McCann delivered the news on January 28 along with an explanation that funding for the expansion of colleges will prioritize francophone schools.
"[She] informed the college that its infrastructure project would not go forward," Gauvin said. "The government has chosen to prioritize, in her words, 'francophone' students. She urged Dawson to explore other options, such as leasing."
Premier François Legault echoed McCann's statement at a press conference on February 1. "It's better to expand French colleges before adding capacity to Dawson," he said, pointing out that Dawson's student body is only 50% anglophone.
"Right now there's a limited capacity to build new [infrastructure]," the premier continued. "We have many projects in other colleges."
In her release, Gauvin stated that while Dawson is an anglophone college, it has a multicultural student body.
"Dawson has existed for more than 50 years, educating Québécois of every background. Our more than 50,000 graduates are present in every sector of Québec society, making important contributions to the health, art, science, engineering, political and business sectors."
The Dawson College expansion has been in the works for several years, since the Liberal party was in power in Quebec. The director-general added that "several groups within Dawson and external experts have worked diligently for more than seven years to develop a project to acquire, build and repurpose space to accommodate the health programs and other units to alleviate the pressure on occupancy in the main building."
Dawson is currently lacking approximately 11,200 square meters, "or the equivalent of more than 10 typical office floors," she said.