VANCOUVER–By slashing six separate programs, Premier Gordon Campbell is breaking an election promise to maintain funding for student aid, says the Canadian Federation of Students-BC.
“This is the worst possible time to be cutting financial aid. Young workers are usually the first to be laid off and we rely on student aid programs to get through rough patches,” said Shamus Reid, CFS-BC Chairperson.
On July 22, internal government communication was leaked to the media that outlined funding cuts to the following programs:
*Permanent Disability Benefits Program (eliminated)
*Debt Reduction in Repayment (eliminated)
*Loan Reduction for Residential Care Aide and Home Support Workers Programs (eliminated)
*Health Care Bursary (eliminated)
*Early Childhood Educator Loan Assistance Program (under review)
*Premier’s Excellence Award (eliminated)
*Repayment Assistance Program (delayed)
“The program cuts will disproportionately hurt people with a disability and women,” suggested Reid, referring to the Permanent Disability Benefits Program and loan forgiveness in areas dominated by women, such as early childhood education and healthcare.
In 2003, the BC Liberal government eliminated the province’s grants program. Today, BC ranks last in Canada in proportion of student assistance expenditures on non-repayable aid.
The Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia is BC’s provincial student organization, representing 150,000 university and college students at all levels of post-secondary education in BC. It is non-partisan and affiliated with Canada’s largest national student organization, the Canadian Federation of Students.