IssuesEducation

Education

First Published: Oct 04, 2019
Last Updated: Oct 04, 2019
Monitored by: Naomi Shuman

Background

There is no ministry or department responsible for education in the federal government. Provincial and territorial governments have responsibility for education with the exception of education of Indigenous People on reserve. However, educational attainment is tied to the economy, international competitiveness and quality of life.
Canadians are among the most highly educated country (proportion of the adult population with a post-secondary education). Recent statistics suggest that by 2024 more than two-thirds of Canadian jobs will requires some for of post-secondary education. However, the cost of post-secondary education has increased dramatically.

The Liberal Federal Government has taken action to make education (post-secondary and graduate) more affordable and accessible for young Canadians and to address Indigenous Peoples education disparities. Budget 2016 increased the Canada Student Grant amounts by 50 percent for students from low- and middle-income families with the saving realized from the elimination of the Education and Textbook Tax Credits. In addition, this Budget expanded the eligibility criteria for Canada Student Grants to provide non-repayable assistance to more students. Budget 2016 and 2017 both provided investment in Indigenous Peoples education, to end the discrepancy in educational funding for children on and off reserve and to develop early childhood education programs that are culturally appropriate.

Current Status

Budget 2019 took further action to make education more affordable and accessible for students by lowering the interest rates of Canada Student Loans, modernizing the Canada Student Loans Program and creating a grace period after a student loan borrower leaves school so that no interest will accumulate during that period. In addition, the Government is supporting graduate students by investing in more post-graduate scholarships and fellowships through Canada Graduate Scholarships program (invest $114 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $26.5 million per year ongoing). The Budget included funding for the International Education Strategy, to help Canadian post-secondary students work/study abroad and promote the merits of Canadian education institutions. It also included funding to improve arctic and northern post-secondary education.

Budget 2019 included a number of investments to help Indigenous student have better support and access to post-secondary education.

Liberal

Conservatives

The Conservatives announced a plan to expand Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP), if elected Prime Minister. Under this plan, the government’s contribution would rise from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar invested, up to $2,500 a year, with a lifetime maximum amount from $7,200 to $12,000. This will boost the maximum annual grant from $500 to $750. In addition, low-income parents will receive 50 per cent on the first $500 they invest every year (up from the 40 per cent they currently receive).

NDP

Long-term plan is to make post-secondary education more affordable for young Canadians by working with the provinces and territories to cap and reduce tuition, and eventually working towards making post-secondary education part of the public education system. In the short-term, will make education more affordable by eliminating the interest on student loans at the federal level, like that already done by some provinces. In addition, we will move away from loans and increase access to Canada Student Grants. Will give more veterans access to post-secondary education by expanding the education benefits to more people. A New Democrat government will improve access to quality education for young people in Indigenous communities by implementing equitable access to education and provide the necessary investments and infrastructure to make this possible. Will provide expanded financial assistance and increased educational opportunities to Indigenous youth to achieve post-secondary education. Will also work with provinces and territories to improve access to minority language education.

Green Party

A Green government will invest $10 billion in post-secondary and trade school supports. This will make college and university tuition free for all Canadian students. It will tie federal-provincial transfers to universities to student-professor contact and other measurable indicators. It will increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth by removing the two per cent funding cap.
Youth

A Green government will create a Community and Environment Service Corps as part of the federal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. It would provide $1 billion to municipalities to hire Canadian youth, annually.
A Green government will invest $10 billion in post-secondary and trade school supports. This will make college and university tuition free for all Canadian students. It will tie federal-provincial transfers to universities to student-professor contact and other measurable indicators. It will increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth by removing the two per cent funding cap.

The Green Party believes education is a public good and access to post-secondary education should not be dependant on financial status. The next generation of leaders will need to be educated to solve the global environmental crisis and foster change. It will work towards making post-secondary education free from tuition and adopt student cancellation programs for students with more than $10,000 in debt. It will eliminate the claw back for in-study income from the Canada Student Loans Program. Make more grants available to graduate and doctoral students. Create a green apprenticeship program for young Canadians and create a Community and Environment Service Corps for crucial Canadian sectors to support youth employment, research and development.

People's Party

Bloc Quebecois

October 4, 2019
Naomi Shuman

The Liberals will increase the Canada Students Grants for full- and part-time students up to $1,200 more per year. It will offer students two years interest-free window after graduation before they need to begin paying off their student-loans. It will also modify the rules so that graduates can delay repaying their loans until they make at least $35,000 and if their income ever falls below this level, payments will be put on hold. It will allow new parents to pause their student loan repayments, interest-free, until their youngest child reaches the age of five. It will also help to establish the Université de l’Ontario français.

September 25, 2019
Naomi Shuman

According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the NDP commitment of eliminating interest on all current and future federal student loans, starting November 2019 has moderate cost uncertainty because of the randomness of repayment behaviour. The proposed measure would cost $204 million in 2019-2020 and could rise to as much as $551 million by 2024-2025.

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

The Conservatives announced a plan to expand Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP), if elected Prime Minister. Under this plan, the government’s contribution would rise from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar invested, up to $2,500 a year, with a lifetime maximum amount from $7,200 to $12,000. This will boost the maximum annual grant from $500 to $750. In addition, low-income parents will receive 50 per cent on the first $500 they invest every year (up from the 40 per cent they currently receive).

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

A Green government will invest $10 billion in post-secondary and trade school supports. This will make college and university tuition free for all Canadian students. It will tie federal-provincial transfers to universities to student-professor contact and other measurable indicators. It will increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth by removing the two per cent funding cap.

September 18, 2019
Roberto Chavez

If elected, Trudeau said a Liberal government would create up to 250,000 more before- and after-school spaces for kids under the age of 10, and lower fees by ten per cent across the country.

The plan also would set aside a portion of the new spaces to provide more child care options for parents who work overtime, late shifts or multiple jobs, the Liberal leader added.

Trudeau also said a re-elected Liberal government would establish a secretariat to "work with the provinces" to "lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian child care system."

September 5, 2019
Roberto Chavez

A nationwide get-out-the-vote campaign targeting postsecondary students launches today, aiming to maintain gains in turnout at the polls among the nation’s youngest voters.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, in concert with three dozen student associations, will hold events and all-party debates and hit the streets with teams to make sure students are engaged during the campaign and plan to vote on Oct. 21.

CASA ran a similar campaign during the 2015 campaign, but this time around it has expanded efforts to include digital voting reminders through emails and text messages to students who ask for the alerts.

In its first effort, some 42,000 students told the association that they planned to vote – a number the group hopes to improve upon this time with the help of 36 campus associations.

Statistics Canada said in a 2016 report that the voting rates of Canadian aged 18 to 24 years old increased by 12 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 elections – a bigger bump than that among older voters.

The message of this campaign is that the millennial generation can have significant sway in the outcome of the election and ensure parties don’t ignore their problems and needs, if only they get involved.

August 26, 2019
Roberto Chavez

The Trudeau government outlined five-year, $148-million plan to attract more foreign students to Canadian universities. Concerned that more than half of the international students in Canada come from just two countries, China and India, the federal government has pledged nearly $30-million over the next five years to diversify global recruiting efforts in the postsecondary sector.

The government is targeting countries with a large and growing middle class that may not yet have the higher-education capacity to educate all their students, or where the prospect of a Canadian education in English or French holds appeal.  The government said the initial focus of its marketing efforts will be in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, France and Ukraine. It will also aim to attract students to schools outside of Canada’s largest cities, bringing economic benefits to provinces and regions that have tended to receive fewer immigrants.

The government’s efforts to broaden the source countries of international students are part of a five-year, $148-million international education strategy released last week.  The strategy also allocates $95-million to encourage Canadian students to study and build ties abroad, particularly in Asia and Latin America, rather than the common destinations of the U.S., Britain and Australia.

August 12, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Andrew Scheer confirmed that the federal Conservative platform will not include a tax rebate for parents who send their kids to private and independent schools. During the 2017 leadership campaign, Scheer had promised to offer a $4,000 income tax deduction to these parents. The Conservative Party indicated they would not move ahead with this plan because of the large deficits recorded by Trudeau government in recent year.

August 8, 2019
Naomi Shuman

The federal government announced earlier this month that they planned to put three percent of this year’s carbon tax revenue towards making schools more energy efficient in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick (jurisdictions where they collect the carbon tax). The federal government is negotiating an agreement with the Manitoba School Boards Association to accept and distribute carbon tax revenue (estimated at $5.3 million) intended for energy efficiency retrofits within Manitoba schools. Last month, the money was rejected by Premier Brian Pallister.

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