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Toronto Opening the door to private, for-profit universities will do nothing to enhance the quality of post-secondary education in Ontario.

However, what it will do is diminish the quality of education offered at our public universities and shut out students from moderate-income families, said Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who is reacting to the introduction of the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000 by the Tory government today.

If passed into law, the act will detrimentally and irrevocably change our accessible public education system. Only the children of the rich will be able to attend these for-profit schools that will thrive on unregulated tuition fees. Visible minority and lower-income students will be shut out. If Tories wanted to really offer students more choice they would provide free university education, added Ryan.

The introduction of the private universities bill comes just one day before a mass protest organized by students groups against the privatization of universities is to take place during the Tories annual convention in Toronto.

This is in your face politics. And fully shows the Tories contempt for students. Harris knows the students are mobilizing and standing up for what they believe in. So hes giving them a crass message, said Ryan who will be a keynote speaker at the Canadian Federation of Students rally on Friday, October 20 at 12 noon, opposite the Metro Convention Centre.

Ontario, under the Harris Tories is now the province that provides the least per capita funding for universities. The Tories have reduced operating expenses to universities by $539 million (25 per cent) and the funding cuts have resulted in thousands loosing their jobs.

Eventually government money that should be going into our public system, will be siphoned off to the for-profit universities. In the United States 30 per cent of private university operating revenue comes from direct and indirect government subsidies, said Ryan.


For further information:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications

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