Posted on Apr 27, 2021


GRANDE PRAIRIE – Grande Prairie Regional College would be elevated to a university with full degree-granting status under an Alberta NDP government, Leader Rachel Notley committed Tuesday.


Alberta’s NDP government gave permission to transition Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) to a degree-granting university in March 2018. The UCP government, however, reversed that decision pending a provincial review and as of this January, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides refused to commit to the university status, leaving the future of GPRC in doubt.


In a speech to the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Notley committed that the college would transition to a university should Albertans elect an NDP government in 2023 as part of a holistic education strategy that includes $10-per-day child care and a fully-funded school system. 


“Under an NDP government, Grande Prairie children will have fully-funded, high-quality education from the day they start child care to their first day of class at Grande Prairie University,” said Notley. 


“I believe the future of this city depends on supporting its people, from their earliest learning to their most ambitious career. We will invest in the transition to a Grande Prairie University that will help more students from northern Alberta reach their potential of becoming highly-educated, highly-qualified professionals who are ready to meet the needs of tomorrow’s Alberta.”


Grande Prairie is the youngest city in Canada with a median age of 31.9 and one of the fastest growing communities in North America. A recent workforce study by the Chamber showed the city will experience a post-pandemic skilled labour shortage and will need to attract professionals including licensed practical nurses, professional engineers, certified forklift operators and certified financial planners.


“It’s clear that the best day to create a university in Grande Prairie was yesterday. We can’t waste any more time and we won’t accept any more excuses,” Notley added.


Notley also committed to rejuvenating the Government of Alberta’s petrochemical strategy by re-establishing the Petrochemicals Feedstock Infrastructure Program. Notley urged the Chamber to participate in the NDP Caucus’ Alberta’s Future initiative for a stronger, more diversified economy.