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The Canadian Education Industry Summit was held in Toronto October 5-9, providing an opportunity for business leaders, investors and senior government officials from across the country to promote “education for profit”.

And like the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships gathering the week before, CUPE was there - this time, to tell big business that we’ll fight to protect public education.

“Make no mistake about it, this conference is promoting the Americanization of Canada’s education system,” said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario. “The material for the conference says it all. It flags the fact that there are 1600 corporate universities in the United States. Is this the direction we want to go in education? There should be a public outcry.”

In a media conference with the Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Federation of Teachers and Canadian Federation of University Teachers among others, CUPE underlined the threat to the system of increased corporate control of education from lease-back schools to corporate curriculum to contracting out of support services.

And while many of the conference sessions focussed on post-secondary education, it is clear that elementary and secondary schools are also at risk. A conference document had this to say: “Today the most investible opportunities, the low-hanging fruit, are in post secondary and training. But the big enchilada is the K to 12 market because this is where the most money is spent.”