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Council of Canadians backs national student day of action, November 2

The Canadian Federation of Students will have a national day of action on November 2 to call for the elimination of tuition fees and universal access to public, post-secondary education in Canada.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “This is about envisioning a better world, and building it together. I stand with students to build a Canada that upholds human rights, invests in strong public services and ensures equal opportunity for all people.”

And Council of Canadians Prairies-NWT organizer Brigette DePape says in this CFS-Manitoba video, “On November 2nd, we call on our supporters to take a stand and join us in protecting education. All out!”

As noted in this campaign blog from last winter, the Council of Canadians supports the CFS call for free tuition for university students.

This past February, the Canadian Press reported, “[The Canadian Federation of Students] is calling on the federal government to fund university and college education the same way it does health care and enshrine it in legislation. The student group says the federal government should repurpose cash used for programs like the registered education savings plan and instead create a $3.3-billion annual transfer for provinces to make post-secondary education free for students. The federation says existing funding and education savings programs don’t help low-income students pay for a college or university education.”

This past May, the Canadian Press reported, “In 2013-14, graduates finished school with an average of $12,480 in federal loan debt, according to numbers from the Canada Student Loans Program.” CBC adds, “The Canada Student Loan Program says most students take about 10 years to pay off their federal debt.”

However, “that figure doesn’t include provincial or private loans. An Ontario student graduating from a four-year university program, for example, shouldered an average of $22,207 in provincial debt in 2012-2013. That makes for a total debtload of more than $34,000 if they also borrowed the average sum from the federal government.”

CFS national chairperson Bilan Arte says her generation is “one of the most indebted generations in Canadian history.”

In 2015, 6,050 students declared bankruptcy, a 10-year high and more than double the number of students who had to declare bankruptcy in 2014. The CBC notes, “Over the past few years, about 14 per cent of people with federal student loans have defaulted within three years of leaving school, according to the CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity at Western University.”

To find out more about the November 2 day of action, please click here.