ABE is an anti-poverty strategy: First Call’s 2015 Child Poverty BC Report Card

Access to affordable basic education for adults is an important anti-poverty strategy for families. The BC Government acknowledged this in 2007 when it announced the Education Guarantee. The restoration of the Education Guarantee, which the provincial government cancelled in 2014, is therefore a recommendation in First Call’s 2015 Child Poverty Report Card:

The provincial government should immediately restore the Education Guarantee to reinstate tuition-free adult basic education, to enable adults to upgrade secondary courses needed for entry to post-secondary programs, and for adults needing to learn English as an additional language (p. 50).

Other recommendations in the report concerning access to education and training for adults include:

  • #4: The provincial government should immediately end the clawback of federal maternity and parental leave benefits from those on income and disability assistance and allow all those on income and disability assistance to retain benefits while attending a post-secondary institution;
  • #12: The federal and provincial governments should intensify their efforts to help immigrants and refugees adjust to life in Canada by enhancing employment assistance, removing long-standing barriers to qualification for professionals trained abroad, making more language training available, and improving employment standards and human rights protections and enforcement.
  • #14: Federal and provincial government support for access to post-secondary education should be increased both to remove financial barriers for low-income students and to lower student debt levels. Specific policy options include tuition fee reductions, providing lower-income students with grants instead of loans and making student loans interest free.

The new Federal Government has announced plans to work with provinces to reduce poverty. As Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos’ mandate letter asks him to:

“Lead the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy that would set targets to reduce poverty and measure and publicly report on our progress, in collaboration with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Our strategy will align with and support existing provincial and municipal poverty reduction strategies”.

BC will need to develop an anti-poverty strategy very soon to align with the Federal Government’s plans; the First Call recommendations seem like a very good place to start.



2016 BC Budget Consultations Report

The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has published its Report on Budget 2016 Consultations. See pages 12 – 17 for details relating to ABE.

“As in previous Finance and Government Service consultations, the importance of advanced education and funded programs for literacy is evidenced by the array of submissions presented to the Committee by individuals and organizations across the province. The ability to properly educate adults to allow personal fulfilment, to improve job prospects, and to facilitate economic stimulus, remains a top priority for British Columbians.

The concerns heard over long term funding in this area led the Committee to urge government to undertake a comprehensive review of post-secondary funding…” (p.16)

Report on the Budget 2016 Consultations


Click to access Rpt-FGS-40-4-Report-on-Budget-2016-Consultations-2015-NOV-13.pdf


Letter of the Day goes to Karen Shortt!

Karen Shortt, President, VCCFA, responds to Minister Wilkinson’s Sep 30, 2015 letter.

Click on the link to read Penny-wise and pound foolish in the Vancouver Sun, October 1, 2015.

You’ll find Minister Wilkinson’s September 30th opinion on standing behind his government’s unwieldy grant system at this link.

However, it is ironic that, in a BC Government press release this same day, Wilkinson’s colleagues announced “Red Tape Reduction Day” (to be held on the first Wednesday of every March).

Students, mark your calendars! Perhaps by March we will see a reinstatement of core funding for ABE and an end to an unwieldy grant system that has ushered in declining enrolment and fewer classes for adult learners.

The NDP provides the first response to questions on adult education and literacy

Brigid Hayes’ shares her thoughts on the NDP response to questions about their adult education electoral platform. We still hope to receive a response from the LPC and the CPC. Over 60 individuals and groups have signed the CDEACF call to ‘get adult education back on track’. You can read the CDEACF call and the NDP response here

As I was saying...

On September 8th, a statement from a network of organizations and researchers in adult education was released which included a series of questions for each of the political parties in the upcoming election (see my blog post: International Literacy Day – It’s time to get back on track).

Since that time, more than 60 people have added their names to the statement (you can read the original statement and the names of those who have signed on at http://cdeacf.ca/canadaelections2015)

To date, we have received one response which is from the New Democratic Party – NDP Response. La versionfrançaisepeutêtre trouvé à: http://cdeacf.ca/actualite/2015/09/21/elections-federales-2015-premier-parti-politique-repond.

I am hopeful that the other parties will respond soon so we can compare and contrast their various positions.

Here is the text of the NDP’s response:

  1. What are your commitments with regard to adult literacy and skills development?

NDP Response: Literacy and basic skills…

View original post 881 more words

Vancouver Sun editorial: Reverse the cuts to adult education

Today’s Vancouver Sun editorial calls for the reinstatement of the Education Guarantee or at the very least, a policy that ensures youth and adults have access to a basic education so necessary for employment, earnings and quality of life. The editorial cites  a recent report by Margaret White and Charlie Naylor that argues the Education Guarantee, by providing a pathway to further education, was an anti-poverty strategy that BC cannot do without. The cancellation of the Education Guarantee has resulted in steep declines in adult education enrolment this Fall, begging the question: Who wins by cutting off access to basic education for thousands of BC adults?

It’s BC 2016 Budget Consultation season: It’s time to provide input

In BC, the 2016 Budget consultation season is here (mid-Sepember to mid-October). This process, as prescribed by BC’s Budget Transparency and Accountability Act (2000), gives citizens and organizations an opportunity to provide input on provincial government spending priorities.

While the BC government operates with a surplus, it’s time to speak out against funding cuts and shifts that are decreasing student access to stable, quality adult basic education in the province:

  • fewer classes
  • learning centre closures
  • complicated rules across ministries about who gets funded
  • enrolment decreasing; low take-up of financial aid benefits due to a complicated funding mechanism
  • drain on institutional resources
  • reduced funding to other social services supports impacting vulnerable adult learners

Let the BC government know that it needs to restore stable funding to adult basic education in the province:

  • remove tuition fees (as it did back in 2007)
  • restore core funding

For information on how to provide input, click on the links below:

Deadline for written and online submissions is October 15, 2015.

Federal NDP shares its plans for Adult Education

On September 8 a network of adult educators and researchers sent each political party a list of questions about their adult literacy and adult education policy. Today the network received this response from the NDP.  Among their policy intentions are:

Support for core funding for literacy programs;

Respect for the constitutional rights to literacy and language services in minority language communities;

The integration of literacy and essential skills education in Labour Market Agreements (the current Canada Jobs Grant excludes people with low literacy skills and the unemployed); and,

The re-direction of EI funds to support the education and training of people experiencing unemployment. Responses from the CPC, Greens and LPC will be shared on this blog as and when the network receives them.

CDEAF – EN – 091815

Layoffs coming for 70 Vancouver Community College ABE instructors

September 18, 2015 – ABE instructors at Vancouver Community College, the oldest and largest provider of Adult Basic Education in the province, received notice of layoff today. Layoffs, commencing December 18th, will affect 70 regular and term instructors. The result will be cuts to classes for many hundreds of upgrading students and other second-chance learners in the Metro-Vancouver area.