U of O contributes billions to economy each year: study

Courtney
Courtney Symons
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The University of Ottawa directly contributes $1.17 billion to the Ottawa-Gatineau economy annually, according to a study released Tuesday.

The University of Ottawa's Tabaret Hall.

That number includes goods and services purchased by the university, its staff and students; the amount spent by people visiting the region because of the university; and the indirect effect generated by these expenditures.

The figure also includes spending by other businesses on campus, including food services provider Chartwells, CHUO radio, the university's health services provider, the bookstore and the Second Cup franchise on campus.

The report estimates that 36,650 people visit U of O each year to take part in graduation ceremonies, homecoming celebrations and conferences. Those visitors spend an estimated $350 per day, adding up to a total of $12.6 million generated each year by visitors, according to the report written by the university's Institutional Research and Planning department and reviewed by KPMG LLP.

Each dollar spent in the economy generates a multiplier effect because it can be spent again, and the study's total was multiplied by 1.5 to generate the final figure.

A second section of the report outlines the economic impact of education, or the earning differentials of U of O graduates in the region, totaling $1.7 billion annually, according to the report.

A third and final section tallies the economic impact of the university's research to be $1.27 million annually in increased productivity.

The total regional economic impact documented in the report is estimated at $4.12 billion annually.

Additional regional impacts identified in the report include increased political participation, changes in population mobility, infrastructure, culture, changes to the region's image and quality of life - none of which are measured in the study.

In 2010-2011, the university's total operating expenditures exceeded $1 billion, 60.8 per cent of that going towards salaries and benefits.

The U of O is the world's largest English-French bilingual university. It offers about 250 undergraduate programs and more than 200 graduate programs, with close to 41,500 students as of fall 2011.

Organizations: Chartwells, Research and Planning department, KPMG LLP

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