Dawson College responds to Government’s Cancellation of Major Infrastructure Project

Montréal, Thursday, February 10, 2022 – The Board of Governors of Dawson College has passed a resolution calling on the Quebec government to move forward with an important infrastructure project that will house seven health programs and a clinique-école.

“Dawson’s space shortage was recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education,” explained Michael Goldwax, Chair of the Dawson College Board of Governors. “This determination is based on precise norms that are applied to all CEGEPs. The new facility is critical in order to significantly improve the learning environment of current students.”

“I wish to stress,” he added, “that the purpose of this initiative is to better accommodate the current number of students, not to expand enrolment, and to support the training of the next generation of health care workers.”

The resolution unanimously passed by the Board at a special meeting on February 9 states:

  • The Board of Governors of Dawson College wishes to convey to the Premier of Quebec its deep disappointment and disapproval of the government’s decision to postpone the Dawson College capital project.
  • The Board of Governors of Dawson College wishes to underscore the importance and necessity for the file to be treated fairly and equitably under the ministerial standards in force and, accordingly, that the Government of Quebec maintain the Dawson College project as a project to be carried out in the next Plan québécois des infrastructures (PQI);

“We are encouraged by the support that we have received over the past 10 days from the entire Dawson community including students, graduates and employees as well as a wide cross section of Quebecers including the Regroupement des cégeps de Montréal,” noted Diane Gauvin, Dawson’s Director General.


Dawson College is one of 48 CEGEPs in the network of post-secondary educational institutions spread throughout Québec. Its mission is to offer college education to all Quebecers who are admitted. All CEGEPs operate under the same standards as defined by the CEGEP system for both their activities and the infrastructure required to carry out their mission.

For more than 25 years, Dawson has suffered from a space shortage for its students. Last December, that deficit was established by the Ministry at more than 11,000 square metres or in other words: Dawson is about 29 per cent short on the space required for students.

The College has worked collaboratively with the Ministry over the past seven years, which has culminated in the completion of a dossier d’opportunité in accordance with the rules set forth by the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI). The project was selected as a priority project in the adoption of the Loi concernant l’accélération de certains projets d’infrastructures, by the Québec National Assembly in December 2020.

WHY the about-face?

Explosive demographics

The demographic boom being felt in Québec CEGEPs now will reach its peak in 2029. Students who will enter CEGEP at that time were born in 2012 or earlier. This is not new or surprising information.

  • The Ministry has had detailed information about the space in each of the CEGEPs.
  • The Ministry has been well aware of the pressure on admissions.
  • Why did the Ministry react two weeks ago to a situation they knew existed in 2012?

Enrollment caps

In June 2021, the Minister of Higher Education advised Dawson College that its enrollment cap had been fixed at 7,915 full-time students, a level that would be maintained until 2029-2030. The College did not challenge the cap and had already committed to the Ministry that it would not surpass admission levels of 2019.

The assumption that Dawson does not respect its cap is false. In 2010, at the request of the Ministry of Education, several colleges in Montréal were asked to increase the number of students they admitted, which Dawson did.

Contact: Communications Team, Dawson College

Donna Varrica

Christina Parsons

Last Modified: February 10, 2022