The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

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PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last March, Keith Dunne and I wrote an opinion piece on Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among other things, we pointed out that average undergraduate tuition fees (for domestic students) in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624/yr., compared with $5,138 for Canada as a whole and $6,307 in Ontario. With a provincial election slated to take place in Newfoundland and Labrador on […]

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McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

An Ontario election is slated for October 6, and the reigning Liberal Party will attempt to pull off a third consecutive majority government. In that vein, the Liberals have recently made a slew of campaign promises in the post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Notably, they’ve committed to reducing undergraduate tuition for “middle-class Ontario families” by 30 percent, amounting to “$1600 per student in […]

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“Grade-Boosting” Stimulant Use on Campus

A recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looks at the use of “grade-boosting” stimulants (such as Ritalin) by Canadian post-secondary students. According to the editorial: “Universities and colleges are ground zero for ‘grade-boosting’ stimulant abuse.” The thrust of the editorial’s argument is that universities and colleges need to work proactively to reduce the misuse of such substances, including by […]

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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 […]

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Funding for Federal Granting Councils

The Canadian Association of University Teachers represents 66,000 university and college teachers, academic librarians, researchers and staff at more than 120 universities and colleges in Canada. Their 2012 brief to the Federal Finance Committee contains some useful numbers.  I was particularly interested to see their data showing decreased funding to Canada’s federal granting councils. Using constant dollars, the brief spells out that, over the past five years, the […]

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Quebec Tuition Fees

In light of plans by the Charest government to increase tuition fees in Quebec by 75 percent over the next five years, Eric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin have written a recent article on Quebec tuition fees. The article points out the following: -Though tuition fees in Quebec have been lower than in most other parts of Canada, this has come with […]

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Copyright on Campus

A recent article by George Monbiot in The Guardian takes a critical look at academic publishers, apparently with a focus on the United Kingdom. The article makes the following points: -Journals now eat up 65 percent of university library budgets. -“[A]cademic publishers get their articles, their peer reviewing (vetting by other researchers) and even much of their editing for free.”  -The research published by academic publishers is largely […]

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Is There a Student Debt Bubble?

A recent article in The Atlantic looks at student debt in the United States and suggests there may be a student debt bubble. Written by the authors of the recent book, Higher Education?, the article points out that “college loans are nearing the $1 trillion mark, more than what all households owe on their credit cards.” The article also features the following provocative excerpt: […]

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Tuition Has Increased 41% Since 1998

A recent cbc.ca article reports on plans by Quebec student groups to protest  planned tuition hikes by the Charest government. Over a five-year period, Quebec’s Liberal government plans to increase tuition by roughly 75 percent. The article notes that tuition levels in Quebec are currently among the lowest in Canada. But as I’ve blogged about here, living conditions for many […]

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The Double Whammy of Defunding Universities

As I’ve blogged about here, federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is decreasing.  Between 1985-1986 and 2007-2008, annual federal cash transfers to Ontario for PSE (in constant 2007 dollars) decreased from roughly $1.4 billion to just under $1 billion. (Yet, during that same period, PSE enrolment in Ontario increased by more than 60 percent). And as I’ve written about here, during Dalton McGuinty’s time as […]

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The Racialised Impact of Tuition Fees

Mainstream policy wonks often claim that tuition fees and rising levels of student debt in Canada are relatively inconsequential. They argue that though the costs of higher education for students (and sometimes their families) are increasing, so is post-secondary enrollment, meaning that raising the cost of post-secondary education clearly doesn’t block access. While enrollment is indeed rising, the increases in costs […]

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2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities

The 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was released on Monday. Because it’s compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University, it’s commonly known as “the Shanghai ranking.”  As I recently blogged about here,  the methodologies used in global university rankings typically advantage English-language universities. This year’s Shanghai ranking confirms this: 20 of the Top 25 universities in the ARWU are located in the United States, and four […]

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The Hidden Impact of Rising PSE Costs for Students

Over the past several decades in Canada, tuition rates and student debt levels have both increased substantially. Yet, I am not aware of much research seeking to assess either how exactly this impacts students, or how precisely students are making ends meet. A recent article in the Huffington Post–though not focused on Canada–sheds some light on this phenonenon. The article looks […]

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Concordia’s “Culture of Contempt”

In June of this year, a report was released on governance at Concordia University. Entitled Strengthening Governance at Concordia: A Collective Challenge, the report can be accessed here: www.concordia.ca/vpirsg/documents/EGRC-REPORT.pdf. The 39-page report was written by the External Governance Review Committee, a three-person committee chaired by none other than Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner). The report paints a picture of a […]

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Tuition Increases by Stealth

On Tuesday night, Peterborough City Council approved a plan for a for-profit corporation to own and operate a new student residence at Trent University.  I’m concerned that this may signal a new trend at Canadian universities; about a year ago, I blogged about a similar plan at the University of Toronto. I am not opposed to private sector actors being […]

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Is Social Assistance a “Poverty Pariah?”

An article in the current edition of NOW Magazine looks at social assistance in Ontario. The article is aptly entitled “Poverty Pariah,” in light of how apparently unpopular Ontario’s welfare system has become over the past 20 years. As can be seen at the National Council of Welfare’s Interactive Welfare Incomes Map, a single adult on welfare in Ontario receives […]

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Global University Rankings

The European University Association (EUA) recently released a report they’d commissioned entitled Global University Rankings and Their Impact. The report was written by Andrejs Rauhvargers. According to the EAU, one of their major motivations in commissioning the report was that their member universities are “often under pressure to appear in the rankings, or to improve their position in one way or another.” Some […]

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How To Fund Innovation

Just over a year ago, I wrote an opinion piece about the federal government’s “innovation strategy” and its impact on the post-secondary education sector. In the piece, I argue that the strategy has resulted in significant funding increases for university R&D. But I also argue in the piece that the strategy creates winners and losers–i.e. a “world class” doctoral student might get a $50,000/yr. scholarship, […]

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How Rob Ford Can Fix Social Housing

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Mr. Ford would like to see a considerable number of units from TCHC’s existing stock sold off.  For background on the issue, please my blog post of April 13, which can be found here. In today’s piece, I argue that it is more […]

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Fix PSE System Before Building Addition!

According to an article in yesterday’s Toronto Star, the Ontario government will create room for 60,000 new students in its colleges and universities by 2015-2016, 10% of which will be for graduate students. (I assume this means that, by 2015-2016, there will be 60,000 more students enroled in Ontario’s post-secondary insitutions than is currently the case, and that 10% of these new spaces […]

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The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After Twenty Years”, Don Drummond on […]

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Reduce Student Debt to Reduce Household Debt

At this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association, Armine Yalnizyan gave a presentation entitled “Surviving the Recovery:  The Distribution of Canadian Household Debt.” The panel was co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for Business Economics and the Progressive Economics Forum. As Armine made clear in her presentation, household debt in Canada has steadily risen over the past two decades.  In 1990, […]

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Homelessness in Yellowknife

I’m in Yellowknife all week attending events relating to the launch of a policy report on homelessness.  The report is one of several articles coming out of a multi-year research project looking at affordable housing and homelessness in the Northwest Territories.  The project is being supervised by Dr. Frances Abele (Carleton University) and our community partner is Arlene Haché (recent recipient […]

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Access to Post-Secondary Education

I recently had the chance to read a 2008 book entitled Who Goes?  Who Stays?  What Matters?  Accessing and Persisting in Post-Secondary Education in Canada.  Edited by Ross Finnie, Richard Mueller, Arthur Sweetman and Alex Usher, the anthology features 14 chapters written by a total of 21 authors.     I found Chapter 4 (co-authored by Finnie and Mueller) and Chapter […]

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding the recent controversy surrounding the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).  In the way of background: -TCHC is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, and Toronto’s largest landlord. -There have been two recent reports by the City of Toronto’s auditor–one looks at staff expenses at TCHC, and another looks at TCHC’s […]

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NDP’s “Balanced Budget” Platform

Jack Layton unveiled the NDP’s policy platform today.  Among other things, it promises to eliminate the deficit (i.e. balance the federal budget) within four years.  I’m not sure it should. Several years back, I had the opportunity to take a directed reading course from John Smithin.  In addition to being a long-time member of the Progressive Economics Forum, John is […]

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Reforming Ontario’s Universities

I have just finished reading a 2009 book entitled Academic Transformation:  The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario.  The book, written by Ian Clark, Greg Moran, Michael Skolnik and David Trick, has received a fair bit of attention among post-secondary (PSE) wonks.  While I find it informative, I am uncomfortable with the book’s central feature:  a proposal to reform Ontario’s PSE sector with the […]

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Danny Williams’ PSE Legacy

Keith Dunne and I have an opinion piece out on what we consider to be one of the best-kept secrets in Canadian social policy:  Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy.  Among other things, the piece points out that: -Since 2003, the Newfoundland and Labrador government has increased funding for PSE by 82 percent. -Average tuition fees for domestic students in […]

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