Statistics Canada: Telling Us What We Already Know
Statistics Canada (2006) has recently released a report stating that very few students rely on a single source of funding for their education. Specifically, it reports that students in the relatively more expensive programs do not rely solely on student loans to cover the cost of these programs.
While this is not surprising to any of us actually attending post-secondary, confirmation by Statistics Canada is yet more evidence for the government. It shows that the student finance situation as it stands is simply not adequate to ensure lower-income families enjoy the same opportunities for post-secondary education as higher-income families.
Missing Our Own Expectations
A poll conducted by the Canadian Council on Learning has discovered that Canadians feel we should be doing more toward life-long learning than we are.
Some highlights from the report include:
Currently, approximately 40% of young adults (20 to 24 year olds) in Canada are attending some sort of schooling, whereas Canadians think that rate should be 62%.
Approximately 58% of Canadian adults can meet most everyday reading requirements, whereas Canadians feel that 80% would be an acceptable level.
While 56% of employers provide some form of structured job training, on average, Canadians believe that 74% should do so.
Today, 57% of the working-age population has completed some form of post-secondary education, and Canadians think that figure should be 67%.
Yet, rather than spending more of our surplus funds on educating Canadians, the new Conservative government is instead looking at 44 billion dollars in tax-cuts over the next five years ( Whittington 2006). Unless Canadians are willing to put their money where their mouth is, it seems unlikely that the kind of investment needed in post-secondary education will occur and meet Canadians’ expectations.
The Sawdust Settles
Those keeping up with trade news will know that there’s finally been a deal hammered out between Canada and America on softwood lumber.
The details are sketchy right now, but what’s known is that the United States has agreed not to return all the duties that seven NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) tribunals have stated they had no right to take in the first place. In return, Canada has agreed to tax our own lumber companies if they are able to sell wood at less than today’s prevailing prices.
Under the threat that the federal government would do absolutely nothing more for the lumber industry if this deal wasn’t accepted, the major wood producing provinces are all grudgingly accepting this framework.
Whether it is actually a good deal for Canada remains to be seen, but if the markets are any indication, the stock value of Canadian lumber companies has been declining since the framework first came to light.
Not widely reported on is that this deal may still be illegal under both NAFTA and WTO (World Trade Organization) provisions, thus setting the precedent that neither side has any intention to follow any of the agreements.