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  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Tickets available for Errol Black Chair Fundraising Brunch 2019 June 26, 2019
    You are invited to CCPA-MB’s annual fundraising brunch in support of the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues.  Please join us to honour: Honoured Guest: John Loxley is Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Guest Speaker:  Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The fight against ISDS in Romania June 24, 2019
    CCPA is proud to co-sponsor this terrific video from our colleagues at Corporate Europe Observatory. It chronicles grassroots resistance to efforts by Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources to build Europe’s largest open-pit gold mine in a culturally rich and environmentally sensitive region of Romania. After this unimaginably destructive project was refused by the Romanian public and courts, the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Ontario Student Debt

Last week, the CCPA released a paper by David Macdonald and Erika Shaker entitled Under Pressure: The Impact of Rising Tuition Fees on Ontario Families.

The paper does a good job of explaining which households have been most impacted by rising tuition fees in Ontario. Points made in the paper include the following:

-In light of rising levels of household debt, Canadian households are not in the same position to take on new debt today as they were 20 years ago.

-There has been growing income inequality over the past 20 years. Ontario households in the top quintile especially have clearly pulled away from the rest of the pack (even when one considers after-tax income).

-Undergraduate tuition fees in Ontario are now the highest in Canada. In 1990, the average university student in Ontario paid approximately $2,500 in tuition fees (in 2011 dollars). This fall, the figure will be roughly $6,500 (also in 2o11 dollars).

-A “middle income” Ontario family with a household member who graduated from university in 1990 had to dedicate about three months of their after-tax income to pay for the tuition fees. The equivalent for a household member graduating in 2011 would be more than six months. (For households in the lowest quintile, it was nine months in 1990 and would be almost two years today).

-The authors also offer calculations for what they term the “full education burden.” This calculation, in addition to including tuition, includes textbooks, tax breaks, living expenses and rent. In 1990, it would have taken 981 days for a household in the lowest quintile to pay “the full education burden” of a university degree (if they were to put all other household expenses on hold for that period). That figure has since risen to 1,268 days. But for households in the highest quintile, the figure has increased from just 135 days to 137 days!

-The authors provide some interesting figures in terms of the affordability of professional degrees. For example, in 1990, it took a household from the lowest quintile 286 days to pay tuition fees for a dentistry degree (again, if they were to dedicate every after-tax cent earned towards the tuition and ancillary fees, and put all other payments–such as food, rent and utilities–on hold). Today, it would take that same household 2,410 days to pay for a dentistry degree.

I believe the paper makes an important contribution to the debate around post-secondary education in Ontario, especially with a provincial election on the horizon.


Comment from JR
Time: September 4, 2011, 2:13 am

I appreciated reading your brief summary of the CCPA paper. The key points of rising levels of household debt, increasing income inequality, full education burden and affordability do hit home.

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