OTTAWA — Ottawa is home to two major Canadian universities and two colleges. Students from all over Canada and the world make Ottawa their home during their studies.
While education is largely a provincial affair, the federal government does have a hand in it and the parties running in the 2021 federal election have platform planks that address post-secondary education and students, largely through taxes and the federal portion of student loans.
Here’s what students at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, and La Cité can expect to hear on the hustings.
The incumbent Liberals offered some benefits to students prior to the election, including pausing student loan repayments interest-free during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Liberals also increased the Canada Student Grant to $6,000 from $3,000.
During this election, the Liberal Party is promising to keep the Canada Student Grant at $6,000 for another two years. They are also pledging to spend $721-million to help students find jobs.
The Liberals have also said they would change the student loan repayment assistance program to make it so that new grads don’t have to start paying their loans back until they make at least $40,000 per year.
The Conservative Party of Canada is pledging tax breaks for new graduates of up to $100,000 in the first three years after graduation.
The party is also offering additional benefits who students who go into engineering, coding or the skilled trades, increasing those tax breaks to $200,000 over five years.
Ottawa is home to many international students and the Conservative Party says, if they form the government, they would create a post-secondary jobs program to help keep international students in Canada.
The NDP is running on a platform of student loan forgiveness. The party says an NDP government would cancel up to $20,000 per student in federal debt and eliminate student debt interest. The party also pledges to stop loan payments while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The long-term goal of an NDP government would be to work with provinces and territories to cap and eventually eliminate tuition fees for students, making post-secondary education free.
In the shorter term, the party is pledging to double the Canada Student Grant permanently, to reduce the need for loans.
The Green Party says it would make post-secondary education free for all by abolishing tuition. A Green government would also cancel any federal student debt over $10,000.
The party is also pledging to create green apprenticeship programs for students. They would also extend the availability of grants for graduate and doctoral students.
Election Day is Sept. 20.
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