York University's planned Markham campus receives approval at last

Jessica Brown
July 29, 2020

After an initial funding setback, York University announced on Friday that it has received approval from the Ontario government to build a new campus in Markham, Ontario.

Focusing on digital technologies, entrepreneurship, and data analytics, the Markham Centre Campus (MCC) will offer programs at the undergraduate and the graduate level, as well as a range of micro-credentials, in the information and communication technology field.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has increased the need for postsecondary institutions to modernize and focus on job-market relevance,” the province said in a statement. “The new Markham Centre Campus addresses the need for skilled graduates…combining academic programs with on-the-job learning opportunities, to prepare students for the workforce.” Once completed, the university aims to accommodate 4,200 students at the MCC, in the first phase of growth.

Set to open in 2023, the MCC increases York University’s already-significant presence in the region, where academic programming is currently offered through the university at IBM Canada’s Markham headquarters. York’s research and innovation hub, Innovation York, has also established its YSpace entrepreneurship program in the region. Additionally, the university recently partnered with IBM Canada to create the IBM Innovation Space-Markham Convergence Centre. Deepening these existing ties, says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, “fits perfectly with the vision we have for Markham Centre; building on Markham's highly skilled, highly educated and diverse workforce.”

University officials are optimistic that the MCC will become a hub of innovation in Canada and fill the demands of a growing and changing labour market. The province projects that the MCC will create over 2,000 new jobs, and add an estimated $54 million dollars to the provincial GDP.

In addition to the province of Ontario, funding for the new campus comes from several sources, including York Region, the City of Markham, and York University. Premier Doug Ford praised the joint funding effort at the ground-breaking. “We have developed a system that encourages the development of new campuses with a much smaller cost to the taxpayer,” he said.

Construction is slated to begin at the end of July 2020.



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