OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - College and university students from across Canada have arrived in Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators to discuss student priorities ahead of the 2016 federal budget. Students will present decision-makers with nine proposals designed to make post-secondary education more affordable, alleviate student debt loads, support graduate studies and public research and address the alarming trend of youth un- and underemployment in Canada.
"Canada's reputation as a place of fairness and opportunity is eroding as an entire generation is being robbed of a decent, stable future by rising tuition fees, ballooning debt loads and poor job prospects," said Bilan Arte, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Access to education and good jobs should not be partisan issues and this week we plan to build broad consensus with all Senators and Members of Parliament that the time to act is now."
In nearly 200 meetings with decision-makers, students will present their proposals for the upcoming federal budget, which include:
- Drafting a Post-Secondary Education Act that would create a cost-sharing program between federal and provincial levels of government to eliminate undergraduate tuition fees in Canada.
- Expanding the Canada Student Grants Program
- Removing the two per cent cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and fully funding eligible First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners.
- Improving and increasing funding for Canada Graduate Scholarships and overall Tri-Council funding.
- Developing a new Workplace Employee Survey through Statistics Canada to improve labour market information.
- Establishing an expert panel to help design and implement a mandatory National Workplace Training Levy.
- Re-establishing federal funding and support for student internships and paid summer employment opportunities.
"Students have been sounding the alarm on rising tuition fees, student debt and youth unemployment for years. This new Parliament gives us a new opportunity to have our concerns and ideas taken seriously," said Arte, "Tackling these challenges doesn't just require thoughtful and practical solutions, but bold leadership and political will too. Students have brought the solutions, now we are looking to our Senators and Members of Parliament for the leadership and political will."
Student representatives from all regions of Canada and all levels of study will be available to speak with the media between February 1 and 5. The lobby document can be viewed at www.cfs-fcee.ca
The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
Image with caption: "Student representatives from the Canadian Federation of Students and the National Aboriginal Caucus meet with Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennet, at the start of Lobby Week 2016 (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160201_C7262_PHOTO_EN_610306.jpg
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