Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Education'

A degree is the new high school diploma: But who can afford it?

September 12th, 2014 · · Education, Income Inequality, Ontario

It’s accepted wisdom that an undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma – it’s the ticket into the workforce.

But that ticket comes at an unrelentingly steep price: average tuition and fees in Ontario are the highest in the country, with no sign of abating.

While tuition fees are increasing all across Canada, Ontario’s have tripled — an increase way, way beyond the rate of inflation, as the following chart shows.



Ontario tuition and other fees are estimated at $8,474 this year and they’re expected to climb to $9,483 by 2017 – a 12 per cent increase, making Ontario consistently the most expensive place in Canada to try to get a ticket into the workforce.

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The Taxpayers’ Federation is wrong about SSHRC

July 9th, 2014 · · Education

Did you hear about the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation’s latest research stunt?

Just before Canada Day – a time when high school graduates are touring university campuses around the country – the CTF slapped a graduation cap and gown on their ubiquitous pig mascot and held a press conference denouncing ‘wacky’ student research projects that receive public funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Demonstrating significant intellectual stretch, a CTF intern and undergraduate student explained the organization’s position as follows: “SSHRC may be giving a few students free money for wacky research – [but] they’re actually burdening all Canadian students with higher taxes and millions added to federal government debt.”

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Public Education Reform: Lessons from the United States on what NOT to do

June 4th, 2014 · · Education, Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Poverty and Income Inequality, Youth

This blog is the second in CCPA-NS’ series called “Progressive Voices on Public Education in Nova Scotia.”

The Minister’s Panel on Education has challenged Nova Scotians to “get involved” and help “effect change in the education system.” Public schools are among our most important democratic institutions, so the call for public input is a welcome one. If the Minister’s panel really wants to effect positive change in Nova Scotia’s public schools, it’s worth paying serious attention to what is and isn’t working in other contexts.

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Ontario Election Promises on Tuition Fees: Room for Improvement

June 2nd, 2014 · · Education, Ontario

By Kayle Hatt and Erika Shaker

The Ontario election has been mostly focused on jobs and economic growth – and debating the credibility of PC Leader Tim Hudak’s proposal to cut the public service. However, Ontario also faces other problems worthy of attention, one of which is growing concern over the affordability of higher education.

The backstory:

Under Rae (NDP) and Harris/Eves (Progressive Conservative), tuition fees in Ontario rose from the early-1990s for the better part of a decade until they climbed to the second highest (on average) in all of Canada (second to Nova Scotia at the time).

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Life is more than Math: Don’t narrow our public education curriculum

May 30th, 2014 · · Education, Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Youth

This blog is the first in CCPA-NS’ new series called “Progressive Voices on Public Education in Nova Scotia.” With an education review underway in the province and expected to table a report in the Fall, it is timely to spark discussion and debate on how to strengthen our public education system and indeed, reclaim our public schools for active citizenship, critical thinking, and creating safe, healthy, vibrant, diverse communities. This is also a call-out to anybody who might want to contribute to the series, get in touch:

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Should an Ontario university degree be a debt sentence?

April 23rd, 2014 · · Education, Ontario, Youth

Right now, post-secondary students across Ontario are finishing up their studies for the year and heading off to summer jobs – if they have been lucky enough to land one.

New research from the CCPA demonstrates just how difficult it is to save up for tuition fees every year.

Ontario’s students face the highest average tuition in Canada, paying on average $7,259/year on tuition. Saskatchewan is next in line at $6,394. Newfoundland and Labrador have the lowest average tuition fees at $2,644.

tuition fees

Source: Tuition in Canada, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from:

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Problem? Ask a CEO (That’s Chief Expert Officer to You, Buddy!)

March 3rd, 2014 · · Capitalism, corporations, Education, Satire

Parents, take note! Your search for clarity in the education debates is finally over.  The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) commissioned a report a few weeks ago that set out a fairly bleak picture of general dissatisfaction with public schools and then concluded with a series of recommendations about how to “fix” the problem.

You know, by measuring teacher quality through student outcomes, in addition to having students and other “impartial” parties judge a teacher’s performance through more frequent (possibly surprise) evaluations…and then assigning bonuses to those educators deemed worthy. Because: incentives!

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My advice to young workers? Get angry.

February 20th, 2014 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Employment and Labour, Youth

In the wake of the Federal Budget, the CCPA’s Alternative Federal Budget, and months of disappointing job numbers, it seems that the national conversation about youth and work is undergoing a bit of a revival. Following on the heels of Jim Flaherty’s announcement of interest-free loans for skilled trades students, CBC’s The National called together a panel of experts to talk about the fit between post-secondary programs and the kinds of jobs available in our evolving economy. Between on-the-street interviews with anxious students, panelists were asked to make sense of the confusing labour market for young workers, to cut through conflicting statistics and rhetoric around labour shortages and the value of a university education. They were pressed, as so many experts are, to offer advice to recent graduates.

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Jeopardy, Jackpot, or Wheel of (Mis)Fortune?

September 13th, 2013 · · Democracy, Economy & Economic Indicators, Education, Income Inequality, Maritime Provinces, Poverty and Income Inequality, Youth

It seems all that fuss being kicked up about tuition fees rising faster than inflation, significant levels of student debt, dismal employment prospects for young people, and parents having to postpone retirement to help shoulder some of the burden under which their kids are struggling has not gone unnoticed.

As we discuss in Degrees of Uncertainty, the average cost of tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergrads will rise by 13% over the course of their degree, from $6,610 this fall to an estimated $7,437 in 2016-17. Since 1990, average tuition and compulsory fees, even adjusting for inflation, have tripled since 1990.

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Sociology: I Can’t Quit You

May 3rd, 2013 · · Democracy, Education, Satire

True confession time, people.

I commit sociology.

And not just as a one-off.

You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.

That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the “right” thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic.

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