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  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources! October 10, 2017
    Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model October 6, 2017
    The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed September 28, 2017
    The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. […]
    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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