One of the biggest problems with post-secondary education in Ontario is accessibility. With an average cost of $5,388 to $6,640 over the past four years, our province has the highest tuition rates in the country. That’s why the Ontario Undergraduate Student Association spends so much time fighting to help those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds break in to the post-secondary system. Quebec’s colleges and universities, on the other hand, lie on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Quebec currently possesses what has been described as a unique accessibility level, where nearly everyone can afford a post-secondary education, so long as they’re a Quebec native.
This is what a success looks like, people. Many of the accessibility problems we face here in Ontario as literally non-existent for Quebecers. Why, then, is taking this system off the table an option that was even considered, let alone implemented.
The problem here isn’t that Quebec tuition is too low—it’s that tuition throughout most of the other provinces is too high. Post-secondary education has effectively become a pre-requisite for successful employment at this point, and this is a reality the Quebec provincial government needs to deal. Yes, both McGill and Quebec itself are massively in debt, but I can’t accept that heaping an additional financial burden on the disadvantaged is the best answer. Nor am I the only person who thinks this—these tuition increases have not been accepted as a critical necessity. The Parti Quebecois has promised to immediately cancel the hikes should they be elected in the upcoming provincial election.
I won’t go so far as to say Quebec should implement another 10-year tuition freeze. The Quebec rates haven’t been adjusted for inflation in a decade, and a more moderate increase is probably called for. More importantly, it also wouldn’t draw a hundred thousand students into the streets of Montreal.
Read Aaron Zaltzman’s response here.