B.C.’s jobs plan will lead to post-secondary funding cuts, says union

Capilano University | BCBusiness
Capilano University is among the institutions harder hit by these funding cuts.

The Liberals’ three-year budget plan will cut operating grants for colleges by $50 million, according to CUPE

Rising tuition fees, cuts to students aid and the B.C. government’s reallocation of operating budgets will hit post-secondary institutions hard, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

By 2017-2018, the provincial government plans to reallocate 25 per cent of the $1.9 billion it earmarks annually to post-secondary operating budgets on programs that lead to “high-demand jobs.” Those occupations will be determined by the Labour Market Priorities Board, a sub-agency of the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. 

In comparison to the last major skills-training funding, which allocated $400 in new spending, the current plan allocates no new money. And according to CUPE’s Universities Coordinated Bargaining Committee, that will amount to a $50 million drop over the next three years in the total operating grant for post-secondary institutions. Under the plan, colleges and universities will have less say over a certain proportion of their core funding, which will be reallocated to programs determined to be “high-demand” by the ministry’s labour market subcomittee.

By 2016, per-student operating grants will have dropped by more than 20 per cent compared to 2001, according to the union. And in that same time frame, tuition will have increased by more than 80 per cent.