As part of the consultation on the revision of the resource allocation model for general and vocational colleges, representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and its provincial council of colleges (Conseil provincial des collèges) were present this morning in Montreal to present their brief on the future of CEGEP funding.

While 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of this jewel in the Quebec education system, the goal of the consultation launched by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MÉES) is to review the resource allocation model for CEGEPs.

CUPE clearly believes that funding for CEGEPs (and for education in general) should not be subject to austerity measures. Cuts in funding have resulted in the deterioration of the college experience and have greatly affected our members.

Since the creation of the network of 48 CEGEPs, more than 87 per cent of its funding has been provided by the Quebec government. Since 1992, this money has been distributed according to specific parameters that have never been modified.

Between 2011 and 2016, the CEGEPs had to contend with cuts estimated at $155 million. An additional shortfall of $20 million should be added to that figure given the increase in the cost of living.

These cuts have affected just about every aspect of the public service. There has been an increase in fees, job cuts and decreases in student services, including cuts to library hours, learning assistance and psychosocial support programs, extracurricular activities, such as sports and cultural activities, and technical assistance during practical work.

“It is crucial for the MÉES to recognize that the CEGEP student experience extends well beyond the classroom and that we cannot cut back on support services without affecting all of college life, whether for teachers, students or other workers in peripheral services,” said Benoît Bouchard, Regional Vice-President of CUPE Quebec.

The provincial council of colleges (CPC) of CUPE Quebec has more than 500 members working in Quebec colleges. They include trades people, lab and library technicians, office workers, labourers, administrative staff, etc.