Message from the Provost: SFU's Budget

December 04, 2023

This message is sent on behalf of Dilson Rassier, provost and vice-president academic to all faculty and staff. 

Like many organizations, SFU is facing financial pressures because of increased costs and reduced revenue. 

Next year’s budget challenges are a continuation of some of the current year’s pressures, including lower-than-expected international enrolment, inflationary cost pressures, delivering on commitments such as living wage, and an unanticipated increase in pension expenses. The university’s budget challenges are not unexpected given the economic landscape but have escalated more quickly than we anticipated.

We expect these pressures to rise to an estimated $50 million over the next year. As a result, units can expect an impact of 5-8% in their budgets over the current and upcoming fiscal year. Negotiated wage increases are not affected.

We will need to take immediate actions with long-term sustainability in mind. This challenge also presents an opportunity for us to innovate and be resourceful in how we operate. As we respond, we will continue to improve SFU’s standing as a leading research university. We are exploring ways to minimize the impact on our faculty, staff and students while staying within financial constraints.

Steps we are taking

Our decisions will aim to re-establish financial stability for the University, and will be guided by the long-term vision for SFU, outlined in What’s Next: The SFU Strategy. Though we are already taking action to address short-term budget constraints, we are keeping our eyes on our strategic goals and core commitments.

Our primary focus is on ensuring an excellent teaching, research, learning and work environment. All of us contribute to this environment and to the outcomes our publics seek from us. This is an opportunity to reset the way we deliver on our commitments and priorities. We will find ways to deliver services more efficiently and better support one another to do our best work. 

I also want to assure you that our commitment to our faculty, staff and student well-being is unwavering. 

To support this process, we are taking the following immediate steps:

  • The university has established a Chief Budget Officer (CBO) role, which will be held by the Provost, establishing the Provost as the primary executive responsible for the university’s budget. In this role, I will be accountable for developing a budget strategy and realizing investment and revenue generation opportunities, including those related to systems transformation, enhanced research teaching and learning supports, and internationalization.
  • The university is currently finalizing two strategies to ensure international student enrolment numbers return to target levels: a refreshed international recruitment strategy to be launched immediately,  and an institutional international strategy that seeks to better coordinate all international research, engagement, advancement andrecruitment activities, strengthening SFU’s reputation around the world.
  • We have already instituted an administrative hiring freeze and asked leaders across the university to look for ways to find efficiencies and minimize expenses.
  • We will be revising financial allocations made to all sectors of the university to identify areas in which we can work more efficiently without losing our capacity to support our faculty, students and staff. Such evaluation may lead to changes in allocations to some specific areas within the university.

We appreciate the dedication and hard work of your team during this challenging time. Your efforts are invaluable as we navigate these financial constraints together. In the new year, you will hear more about supports for your team andopportunities to collaborate on creative solutions. 


Dilson Rassier
Provost and Vice-President Academic and Chief Budget Officer
Simon Fraser University