University of Waterloo Economic Impact Series Part I: Driving Regional and National Prosperity

Thursday, February 20, 2020
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

university of waterloo economic impact students

To be relevant and truly distinctive, universities around the world must have a unique role to play in society. We need to educate and train generations of talented citizens with a renewed purpose as we wrap it together with a dedication to enabling curiosity-driven discoveries from our exceptional researchers and faculty members. That’s why universities are vital to the economic health of nations.

That is exactly what we have been doing right here at the University of Waterloo from day one.

We have educated more than 210,000 alumni worldwide, been home to far-reaching scientific and technological breakthroughs and helped shape global public policy for decades. But we recognize that answering the question about our economic contribution to Canada can sometimes be tricky.

We wanted to get to the bottom of the true picture of this impact and after Deloitte recently delved into the economic outcomes of our University it released an Economic Impact Assessment showing the vast contributions our innovative institution has made on the local, regional and national economy. The results of the study more truly reinforced how we make a unique contribution to Canada, namely, how we educate, create new knowledge and cause prosperity that adds to innovation, entrepreneurship and the talent pool — strengthening Canada’s economic competitiveness.

Building and sustaining our region

With tens of thousands of students relocating to our region every year and being home to thousands of our faculty and staff, we are intimately connected to the community outside of Ring Road and rely on the hospitality and support of our home communities.

That connection has allowed the University to contribute $1.79 billion to the local economy in 2018 with more than 15,000 jobs created or sustained regionally through the University of Waterloo’s operation and its out-of-town students.

This operational and student impact is happening year in and year out. As we grow, our community is growing along with us. As Deloitte’s study says, the University of Waterloo is “an engine of the Region of Waterloo.”

And our impact extends beyond the borders of Waterloo region across Ontario and all of Canada.

Reaching beyond

We are a close community on campus, across Waterloo region and Stratford. Deloitte’s report also shows how we are creating beyond the borders of our close-knit communities to drive Canada’s economy with more than $3 billion in impact on national GDP annually (2018/19).

We have created or sustained more than 30,000 full-time jobs across Canada — the vast majority of those jobs in Ontario.

Our dedication to curiosity-based, fundamental research is leading to breakthrough discoveries and solving complex global challenges and spurring economic activity that is pushing our province forward.

But that’s only one part of this great story. The report from Deloitte shows that the University of Waterloo is an active driver of Canada’s economy. From our students and researchers to our renowned Co-op program and dedication to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship, Waterloo is an economic engine locally, regionally and nationally.

In the next part of my economic impact series I will dig into the details Deloitte’s comprehensive report found in how our co-op program is impacting Canada’s economy and the strength of the companies and organizations that hire our exceptional students.