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  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA's National Office has moved! May 11, 2018
      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Federal Post-Secondary Education Act

Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) released a document entitled Public Education for the Public Good:  A National Vision for Canada’s Post-Secondary Education System. I found the document to be quite informative, filled with a lot of useful statistics.  For example:

-Enrolment is rising in colleges and universities across Canada. Since the late 1990s, full-time enrolment has increased by 25%. Enrolment in graduate studies (i.e. master’s and PhD programs) alone increased by a whopping 42% between 1998 and 2008. 

-Federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada has decreased very substantially since the late-1970s. In 1979, government grants typically covered 80% of a PSE institution’s operating budget. Today, this figure stands at roughly 50%.

-In light of rising tuition, substantially more university students work during the academic year today than 30 years ago. In 1976, roughly 25% of university students worked during the academic year. By 2008, the figure had risen to roughly 50%. What’s more, 75% of university students believe that the paid work they take on has “a negative effect on academic performance.”

-Class sizes are getting bigger. Between 1990 and 2006, the ratio of PSE students to full-time faculty members increased by roughly 40%.

-The Canada Social Transfer, which transfers funding to provinces, does not require provinces to actually use federal funding for PSE for PSE purposes. There are, in effect, very few strings attached to this funding. In fact, the document remarks that, in 2008, the Government of British Columbia cut funding to universities by $50 million shortly after it received $110 million in new PSE funding from the federal government.

The document’s central recommendation is for the federal government to implement a Post-Secondary Education Act “modeled after the Canada Health Act.” As part of this process, the federal government should cooperate with the provinces, restore per-capita funding to 1992 levels, ensure that tuition fees are reduced to 1992 levels, and provide sufficient funding for universities and colleges to undertake much needed capital repairs (known as “deferred maintenance“).

Such a framework “would require provinces to uphold principles similar to those found in the Canada Health Act:  public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility. In return for upholding these principles, provincial governments would receive adequate and predictable funding from the federal government.”

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