Liberals will only worsen skills shortage with post-secondary cuts, say New Democrats
VICTORIA— In response to a budget document released by Capilano University this week, Michelle Mungall, the New Democrat critic for advanced education, is calling on the Liberals to abandon their short-sighted plans to slash funding for post-secondary institutions.
“The budget document released by Capilano University offers the latest of many indications that the post-secondary sector isn’t able to absorb incoming B.C. Liberal cuts without negatively impacting students,” said Mungall. “At a time when 80 per cent of job openings will require some level of post-secondary or trades training, we should be looking for ways to increase access to advanced education, not starving universities and colleges of the resources they need to serve students.”
The budget document notes that next year Capilano University will “most certainly be forced to reduce programming and/or student services as the ministry has announced a $20 million dollar cut in the post-secondary system for the 13/14 year followed by a further $30 million dollar cut in the 14/15 year.”
All 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C. joined together and issued a letter earlier this year noting that it is “unrealistic” to expect that “funding reductions contemplated by Budget 2012 can be achieved without implications for service levels.”
“The skilled labour shortage is widely understood to be one of the greatest challenges facing the British Columbian and Canadian economy,” noted Mungall. “Given that we already have a problem of jobs without people and people without jobs in this province, we should be taking steps to increase access to post-secondary education, not reducing access through cuts.”
In February, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce noted that “a growing shortage of highly skilled labour is becoming desperate, threatening our ability to keep up in a global, knowledge-based economy.”
“New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix has made it clear that tackling the skilled labour shortage would be one of the top priorities of a New Democrat government,” said Mungall. “By removing barriers to advanced education with our fully costed needs-based student grant program, we will help British Columbian workers access opportunity and help employers find the skilled workers they need.”