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Post-Secondary Education and Research

CAUT Policy Statement

Post-secondary education and research are public goods — a well educated and informed citizenry is fundamental to a socially viable society. Through the preservation, discovery, application and dissemination of knowledge, universities and colleges also contribute both directly and indirectly to the social, cultural, and economic development of communities and regions.

In light of the above, funding and program decisions should be based (i) on consideration of wider academic values integral to the successful and effective functioning of post-secondary institutions and (ii) on consideration of the wider social values integral to the good of society at large.

CAUT recognizes the important economic contributions that universities and colleges make, but believes that targeted economic and commercial considerations should not drive government policy and institutional decision-making. Nor should governments or institutional administrators seek to influence educational and research priorities via performance-based or other inappropriate funding formulae. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have a responsibility to ensure that post-secondary institutions have adequate public funding to fulfill their broad public mission. Research funding decisions should be decided based on the scientific and academic merit of a project as determined by the scholarly community.

Institutional leaders have a responsibility to protect and promote a free scholarly environment where unfettered research, academic freedom and open debate can lead to the development and dissemination of a broad range of knowledge and the well educated citizenry of the future.


Approved by the CAUT Council, November 1990;
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2001;
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2009;
No changes, February 2014;
Editorial Revisions, November 2018;
Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2023.