Day of Action: Why it matters to higher education

The fight for public education in Canada is part of a global effort to maintain education as a basic right for all. Around the world, governments are tabling “austerity” budgets containing massive cuts to post-secondary education and other public services.

In country after country, ordinary people are refusing to allow a crisis caused by the deregulation of international markets and corporate greed to threaten the public good. In many cases, students are the ones leading this struggle.

The Education is a Right campaign is the manifestation of students’ collective vision for a well-funded, high-quality, public post-secondary education system that builds a fair, and equitable society.

As part of the Education is a Right campaign, students have been meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators, collecting petitions, organising provincial campaigns and will now take to the streets on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 in a national student day of action. Please join us! Visit the website for details:

For more information on post-secondary education in Canada, check out the compilation of research and publications below.

Access and Affordability

Corporatization and Privatization

Roxanne Dubois is the National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.

For more about the Education is a Right Campaign, visit


  1. Can someone explain to me why a subsidy in which the benefits overwhelmingly accrue to higher income earners is considered progressive? Would it not be more progressive to use the money being paid by those who can afford it and use it to subsidize those who cannot?

  2. And yes I’ve read Hugh Mackenzie’s analysis, but as Stephen Gordon has pointed out, using his criteria qualifies the Bush tax cuts as progressive. Why is the CFS’ focus overwhelmingly on tuition subsidies as opposed to grants for low-income students and debt relief? I’m all for increasing spending on education improving access, but I do not understand how this goal is furthered by directing more money to high-income students as opposed to spending it on low-income students.

  3. @ernie king: the flaw in this (unfortunately pervasive and inadequately rebutted) argument is that one cannot compare user fees to taxation. of course it’s unfair for wealthy students to “get” to pay the same as lower-income students–user fees are inherently regressive. which is why funding higher education (and any other universal program, or any program deemed important enough to be considered universal) through a progressive tax system is the fairest method, and the most efficient. and it has the added benefit of not downloading additional debt onto low and middle income families at a time when household debts are at their highest levels.

  4. Funding public education including the funding of fair, equitable wages for all support staff who ensure the buildings, grounds, food services & student facilities are maintained for students and other members of the public to ensure a safe, healthy learning environment and enhance discourse for an enlightened, just society.

  5. @erika: that’s a complete non-answer.

    Yes, user fees are regressive – what Ernie is suggesting, and what makes the most sense from the view of increasing accessibility – is for user fees to be eliminated for lower-income students through bursaries and grants while they remain in place for those who can afford them. But this is not at all what the CCPA or CFS are championing.

    No matter how much is raised in taxes (and Canada already has a progressive tax system where higher incomes translate into increasingly higher taxes) there will always be limited resources. Do we use the funds available to give wealthy students a free ride (as CCPA and CFS propose) or use them to help lower-income students who wouldn’t be able to afford school *even if* tuition was free?

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