Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
Figures released this week show a dangerous trend towards privatization of our universities. In their annual survey of university finances, Statistics Canada found that student fees accounted for almost one-fifth of universities total revenue last year compared to 12 per cent a decade earlier. In Nova Scotia, students and their families paid for 27 per cent of total university funding; in Ontario, the figure was 25 per cent.

Overall, the share of university revenue from public sources dropped from 68 per cent in 1990/91 to under 55 per cent in 2000/01. Once again, Nova Scotia and Ontario lead this downward trend.

Government contributions accounted for only 43 per cent of university revenue in Nova Scotia and

48 per cent in Ontario (an 8 per cent decline in provincial funding). Quebec, on the other hand, had the highest proportion of government funding at 66 per cent, and the lowest proportion of student fees at 11 per cent.

Total university spending for 2000/01 rose 5.3 per cent yet spending on salaries and benefits rose only 4.5 per cent. The share of spending on staff salaries and benefits has steadily declined from 66 per cent in 1992/3 to 58 per cent in 2000/01, showing that CUPE members heading into bargaining with their university employers have the right to demand improvements to their wages, working conditions and job security.

As provincial governments pull out their funds, it is clear the federal government must play a larger role in supporting the core operating budgets of universities to keep fees low and accessibility high for all students.

CUPE will continue to fight against privatization of education, while pressing for increased funding to public higher education, the protection and increase of unionized public sector jobs within the post-secondary sector and an end to the downloading of education costs to students and working families.