91st CMEC Meeting: Ministers Call for Increased Federal Funding for Postsecondary Education and Take Action on Literacy


Toronto, February 13, 2007

Postsecondary education funding

At the 91st meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, which was held this week in Toronto, education ministers reaffirmed the importance of a strategic agenda for postsecondary education and skills training in Canada as outlined in the Council of the Federation report, Competing for Tomorrow.

Ministers understand the great importance of postsecondary education for Canadians. Provinces and territories not only have constitutional responsibility over education, but are in the best position to develop policies, objectives, and programs that are responsive to the specific needs of each jurisdiction. The federal government must recognize and respect provincial and territorial responsibility and leadership by providing substantial, predictable, stable, and ongoing funding through unconditional transfers to provincial/territorial governments.

“Our postsecondary systems are under considerable stress as a result of chronic underfunding by our federal partners,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education for Newfoundland and Labrador and Chair of CMEC. “My colleagues and I call on Prime Minister Harper's government to step up to the plate and deliver on its promise regarding investments in postsecondary education in the upcoming federal budget. The future of Canada's students and Canadian society is at stake.”

In 2005, Canada's premiers called on the federal government to fully restore postsecondary education transfers to 1994-95 levels, as a first step to adequately supporting postsecondary education in Canada. Ministers emphasized that restoring this level of transfers would demonstrate an acknowledgement by the federal government that postsecondary education is an essential investment for Canadians, and ministers called on the federal government to make this reinvestment immediately.

Literacy Action Plan

Ministers of education continue to show leadership in the area of literacy by implementing the next phase of the CMEC Literacy Action Plan, which will include


  • the creation by each jurisdiction of formal policy frameworks on literacy for both school age and adult learners
  • the creation of networks for K–12 and adult literacy to allow provinces and territories to share ideas about promising literacy practices
  • the development of a strategy for research and data gathering in the area of literacy


Ministers will also engage with Canadians on the importance of literacy and the need to ensure that people have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to compete and succeed in the global economy and participate fully in civic life.

CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.

- 30 -

Colin Bailey
Tel.: (416) 962-8100, ext. 259
Web site: www.cmec.ca