Statement: Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C. responds to the B.C. Budget
Today, the B.C. government unveiled Budget 2021. It includes targeted commitments with respect to post-secondary skills, training, education and the workforce, which supports the sector.
In response, Brent Calvert, the President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) of B.C., said:
“Post-secondary education is an important sector – and one that is vital to B.C. economic recovery. We know that young people, women and racialized communities are among the hardest hit by the repercussions of the pandemic, and recognize the urgency for these populations to have access to education, training and re-training.
“It’s encouraging that the government is adding $32 million dollar investment in post-secondary skills training initiatives. We know that targeted funds give communities the ability to determine the mix of training opportunities they need.
“Training opportunities provide much-needed support to people immediately, and also pay dividends by ensuring that people are getting the education that works in the post-COVID future.
“There is also significant funding committed to post-secondary infrastructure as part of the government’s highest-ever level of taxpayer-funded capital spending totalling $26.4 billion dollars over the next three years. Of this, $3.8 billion dollars (14%) is allocated for post-secondary projects that will enhance the learning environment of students.
“While institutions are continuing to plan for a return to in-person learning on campuses in September, they are missing key steps to ensure the health and safety of workers and students. The pandemic remains an extremely dynamic situation, meaning we need as many people working together on the return to campus plan as possible. We’re talking about the coordination of hundreds to thousands of people in shared indoor spaces, so faculty, staff and students can’t be brought in at the last moment and expected to fill in gaps that should have been identified and solved in the initial plan. There’s still time to include stakeholders in planning, so we’ll be pushing for that to happen at every institution in BC.
“Now we’ll be monitoring institutions to make sure this money goes to where it’s needed – more faculty and higher staffing levels to address burnout/workload, maintain health and safety, and give students the support they need to succeed.”
Note: A more detailed budget analysis by FPSE to follow.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.