U of G, OMAFRA Partnership Worth Billions, Report Says

December 18, 2007 - News Release

The partnership between the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has tremendous economic impact, returning more than a billion dollars a year to the province, according to a new economic analysis.

Ontario is also benefiting from the agreement in critical ways that cannot be fiscally quantified, such as supporting research involving the monitoring and prevention of health threats such as SARS, avian flu and mad cow disease, the report by Deloitte and Touche LLP says.

The global consulting firm looked at the 10-year-old enhanced partnership between U of G and OMAFRA. Under the agreement, the University manages research and education programs and related facilities, supported through an annual $54-million allocation from the Ontario government.

The report says the U of G/OMAFRA partnership returns $3 for every $1 received in the form of direct, indirect and associated impacts. And when spinoff effects and other financial returns are considered, the annual economic impact exceeds $1.15 billion.

"What an incredible return on an investment," said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. "In the last 10 years, this partnership has pumped more than $10 billion back into the economy. Even more amazing, consider that our relationship with OMAFRA started in the 1930s — long before it was formalized through this agreement. We've been innovating together for 77 years, generating billions and billions of dollars for Ontario."

The report quantified the impact that the partnership has on Ontario's economy in several areas, including:

• direct economic impacts, such as expenditures on goods and services;

• indirect impacts, including the various interactions with other businesses that supply necessary materials
and services; and

• associated/inferred impacts, such as spinoff activities and research generated by the partnership.

The largest economic impact comes in the form of "spinoff" activities such as product innovation and commercialization. They're estimated to be worth $929 million annually.

"The faculty, staff and students engaged in the partnership should be proud of how their efforts are making a difference," said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). "It's a prime example of how universities and governments can work together to create capacity that has amazing economic benefits."

The report also highlights some of the many activities the partnership supports that are having a positive effect on the lives of Ontarians, such as improved environmental, health and public policies. Although disease and outbreak prevention cannot be effectively quantified in traditional economic impact analysis, prevention does have "significant economic benefits," the report said.

View the Report

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1