A Guide to Voting for Post-Secondary Education

If you've been struggling to find useful information on the major parties' post-secondary platforms, you're not alone. We all know that education is vital to our future - for the growth of the economy, for sustainable communities, and for a society of engaged citizens. Yet the campaign trail hasn't been blazing with announcements on how the next government will revitalize post-secondary education to create more opportunities for all Canadians.

It may not be the top issue for any of the parties, but they've all had something to say. Here's what we were able to find.

  1. Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) provides in-depth analysis of educational policy issues. Their blog analyzes the post-secondary campaign promises made by the Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, and Green Party. You can read what they have to say here.
  2. Colleges and Institutes Canada is a national organization representing most of the public post-secondary institutions. Their focus will not always align with those of our member Faculty Associations, but there is useful information both about the parties' platforms as well as insight into the institutions' priorities. Check it out.

The four major parties have all made commitments related to post-secondary education. Here are the highlights (alphabetically by party name):

Conservative Party:

  • Provide $65 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to business and industry associations to allow them to work with post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with needs of employers.
  • Enhance Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) by doubling the federal grant for low- and middle-income families.
  • Provide the Canadian Foundation for Innovation $1.33 billion over six years, starting in 2017-18, to finance research infrastructure on university, college, and polytechnic campuses.

See their full platform here.

Green Party:

  • Eliminate tuition fees by 2020.
  • Eliminate 2% annual cap on funding for First Nations Education.
  • Eliminate student debt over $10,000.
  • Abolish interest on student loans.
  • Increase available funding for bursaries.

See their full platform here.

Liberal Party:

  • Increase the maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students, and to $1,800 per year for part-time students; increase the income thresholds for eligibility; and increase the level of non-repayable grant assistance to students to $850 million per year by 2019-20.

  • Ensure that no graduate with student loans will be required to make any repayment until they are earning an income of at least $25,000 per year.
  • Invest $50 million in additional annual support to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, which supports Indigenous students attending post-secondary education.

See their full platform here.

New Democratic Party:

  • Immediately start phasing out interest on federal student loans over the next seven years.
  • Add $250 million to the federal student grant program over four years to create new grants for students who need financial help. The grant money would not be targeted to any particular discipline or field.
  • Work with the provinces and territories to make post-secondary education more affordable, accessible, and inclusive.

See their full platform here.

Election Day is less than a week away. Once again, I urge you to research, analyze, investigate, and make an informed choice when you mark your ballot. Look back over the past decade and ask yourself whether our lives and our students' lives have improved. Ask yourself who will do the most to improve our lives going forward. Who will create a better society of engaged, informed, educated citizens?

And when you feel confident of your choice, go vote.

About FPSE

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.