(Ottawa – December 1, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes measures in the Fall Economic Update to help vulnerable Canadians, including students, but calls on the government to make more concrete, robust and transformative commitments to research and post-secondary education in Budget 2021.
“This Update recognizes that students are struggling, but it falls short in laying out a detailed plan to fix critical issues in post-secondary education,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “We need federal leadership to ensure stable funding for universities and colleges, which are integral to solving Canada’s current and future challenges.”
CAUT urges the government to commit to a national plan for post-secondary education, which strengthens science and research, and improves accessibility, affordability, and quality of post-secondary education.
The Fall Economic Update is a mix of new and renewed commitments and includes:
- Elimination of the interest on repayment of the federal portion of the Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans for 2021-22, which will benefit 1.4 million Canadians burdened by student debt;
- Funding to ensure a safe restart in Indigenous post-secondary education institutions;
- Enhanced skills training for marginalized and displaced workers;
- Creation of a task force to modernize the Employment Equity Act.
“The pandemic is causing immediate and long-term negative impacts on Canada’s higher education sector, and the innovation and knowledge that support a strong, stable and resilient Canada. Without greater federal investment in post-secondary education, we will see quality, access and affordability further compromised and less research, slowing Canada’s recovery,” Robinson concludes.