This Tuesday, November 23, 2021, students will hear from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he delivers the speech from the throne. The throne speech opens every new Parliamentary session and provides an overview of the government’s goals and plans to achieve them. This year is a crucial point in the history of our student movement because we are still in the middle of the biggest economic and health crises in generations. This year’s speech is expected to continue to focus on providing aid to those individuals and sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the prioritization of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that climate action, childcare, mental health, and housing investments will also be a focus this year.
As we tune in to the speech from the throne, we are ready for change and wonder what the government will do to support students struggling across Canada. As of October 23, 2021, the Federal Government has put an end to the Canadian Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). For more information check out our statement on “Ending of Pandemic Supports” here. Unfortunately, students cannot afford any more broken promises and inaction, especially at a time when it is absolutely essential that governments do everything at their disposal to face these issues with the attention and diligence they require.
“Not providing opportunities, not making investments in young people and in our communities will impact people’s livelihood, health, well-being and have generational effects that will create additional barriers to obtaining post-secondary education and additional barriers to entering a job market,” said Marie Dolcetti-Koros, National Treasurer of the Canadian Federation of Students. With the opening of the 44th Parliament of Canada, students are eager to hear what the priorities will be for the government and call for them to deliver on past promises yet to be made.
Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic needs to include free and universal post-secondary education for all. Education for all includes an immediate reduction in tuition fees for all students in Canada. In order to have a just recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need the government to prioritize a move towards a fully publicly-funded and high-quality post-secondary education system. In unprecedented times like these, shifts towards fully funded post-secondary education are possible. We need the government to ensure that students are a priority because when everyone in our society has access to education, we stand a better chance at a healthy and equitable economic recovery.