OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Students warn that downloading the costs of balancing the federal budget onto students and families is short sighted and will hurt the next generation. A combination of record-high levels of student debt and household debt will strain the economy and slow economic recovery.
"By undermining pensions, increasing student debt, and eliminating student jobs, the Harper government is balancing the budget by further saddling young people with more financial burdens," said Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Balancing the budget may score political points today, but doing it on the backs of young people will further exacerbate social inequalities."
The budget announced an increase to the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security program (OAS) from 65 to 67, a change that affects all Canadians under the age of 54. In response to criticism of the cuts to Service Canada Centres for Youth, the budget includes a 15% increase to the Youth Employment Strategy.
Earlier this month, the government quietly removed the $15 billion student loan ceiling and removed Parliament's oversight of lending limits. The 2012 budget contains no student financial assistance measures to offset students' growing debt loads.
"Removing limits on student loan lending will ensure that student debt will continue to skyrocket to unprecedented levels, demonstrating that the government has no strategy to address the student debt crisis," added Dubois. "In the United States, student debt is predicted to be the next economic bubble to burst. In Canada, we are ignoring similar trends and continue to build our own student debt time bomb."
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Federation and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.
For further information:
British Columbia Zach Crispin (604) 733-1880
Prairies Kent Peterson (306) 586-8811
Manitoba Marakary Bayo (204) 330-0017
Ontario Sandy Hudson (416) 722-8842
Quebec Roxanne Dubois (613) 816-7486
Maritimes Rebecca Rose (902) 488-2122
Newfoundland and Labrador Jessica McCormick (709) 689-9081