Launch of new material demands a post-Secondary Education Act

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has been putting pressure on the government to create a post-secondary education act.

The week of October 4 had representatives of CFS-BC over in Ottawa with plans to lobby members of Parliament (MP) and senators for a “high-quality and affordable system of post-secondary education,” both within BC and across the country.
Their extensive list of meetings with MPs and senators included many from BC, including Hon. Hedy Fry, Colin Mays and Libby Davies.
CFS-BC, the provincial chapter of the CFS, travelled to Ottawa in conjunction with the CFS’ 2010 lobby week.
“The federal government spends billions on post-secondary education, but has very little in the way of a long-term plan,” says Nimmi Takkar, CFS-BC Chairperson. “A post-secondary education act will help develop education in the same way the Canada Health Act has laid the foundation for world-class health care in Canada.”
In addition to government lobbying, the CFS recently released a policy paper entitled “Public Education for the Public Good”. The document includes a list of five recommendations to improve Canada’s post-secondary education system, as well as numerous statistics related to post-secondary education.


The five recommendations the document cites, which it feels will improve the post-secondary education system in Canada, are expansive. The first recommendation is to implement a federal post-secondary education act in cooperation with Canada’s provinces. The second recommendation requests a $10 million increase in funding to Statistics Canada’s branch for the collection and analysis of post-secondary education statistics. The other recommendations include increasing the amount of grants (instead of loans) given out to students, to remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and ensure that every eligible First Nations and Inuit learner is provided adequate funding to attend post-secondary education, and to increase the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to 3,000.
“Students in BC are paying higher fees and taking on more education-related debt than any previous generation,” says Takkar. “Students are calling on the federal government to take meaningful steps to reduce tuition fees and eliminate student debt.”
Tana Ganbold, a Capilano University student in the Tourism Management degree program, paid about $1500 in tuition fees this semester for her course load. Although she acknowledges the high cost of tuition, she says that it is nothing compared to what her international friends are paying.
“I would say Capilano has good financial aid options,” she says, “but it would be nice to get more aid."
She currently has a part-time job, working an average of eight hours per weekend. Without a job, she would likely be relying on loans and family assistance to cover the cost of her education.
As for the high level of BC tuition costs, Ganbold says, “I accept it as is.”


In addition to the policy paper, the CFS launched a new project: the Education is a Right campaign. The CFS is the largest national student organization in Canada, and lobbying comprises a large part of their activities.
Since its launch, much of the campaign has occurred in an online format, providing a location for students to sign a declaration that aims to call on the federal government to “ensure that education is a right.” It raises issues of funding, debt, tuition fees, and aboriginal education.
“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,” reads the campaign’s website. “The Education is a Right campaign is the manifestation of our collective vision for a strong public post-secondary education system that builds a fair, equitable, and prosperous society.”
However, some students opposed to the CFS have taken a hold of the idea, creating a website that mirrors that of the Education is a Right campaign.
At first glance, is no different than its counterpart, The logos, the layout, and the font are all fairly identical. It is not until the reader begins perusing the .com website that there is a suggestion of a different message.
While the official CFS campaign is promoting a more affordable and long-term post-secondary education system, the alternative website urges students to educate themselves on the CFS, reading, “Education is a right! Students should be able to get an education without forcing membership in a useless, corrupt, anti-democratic organization.”
It is yet to be determined which campaign will call itself the more successful of the two. Yet regardless of what national student group they belong to, students across Canada are faced with high tuition fees.
“I really think working after [completing my education] is going to be a hard time for me,” says Ganbold. “I won’t be able to enjoy my freedom and life until after I repay my loan…which could take a while.”

“Public Education for the Public Good” is available for perusal at

//Samantha Thompson
News Editor

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