The Ontario Liberal Party (LPC) is seeking to block the province’s Liberals from hiking tuition by two per cent by the end of 2019, but the federal Liberals are arguing that the party should be allowed to increase it by the same amount.
The Liberals are proposing a two per per cent tuition hike over the next three years to be rolled out over five years, which is to say, at the same time they are proposing to increase provincial student aid.
The Liberals are also proposing to phase out funding for tuition at the end that same three-year period.
The province has already set a deadline of Jan. 31, 2020 for the province to decide whether to continue the province-wide tuition increase, but it is not clear how long the provincial government has to make that decision.
The province is also facing questions about the impact of a tuition hike on Ontario’s ability to attract new students and job candidates.
Last week, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a three-per-cent tuition hike to be implemented starting in 2019.
She said the increase would be in line with inflation.
The NDP is calling on the province not to hike tuition because it will hurt students and the economy.
Premier Kathleen Wynne is proposing to hike Ontario’s tuition rate to 2.5 per cent next year, which would be the second-highest in the country.
It would be among the highest rates in the world, and would take effect in 2021.
The increase would take full effect in 2019, when the Liberals have set a new tuition cap.
Ontario’s Liberals are hoping to get around the two percent cap by increasing provincial aid to the provinces and cities by two percentage points, or by 20 per cent.
The government is also proposing a gradual phased-in tuition increase from 2021.
That could be a tricky balancing act, because while the Liberal plan would likely increase the cost of tuition in the province, it also would likely reduce Ontario’s relative income.
The tuition increase is also likely to raise questions about how the Liberals are supposed to provide a tax cut for low-income students, since the Liberals want to raise taxes on the wealthiest Ontarians.
In a letter to the province on Monday, the NDP and the Liberals said that the Liberal government’s plan would also increase provincial aid.
While the Liberals say they are simply trying to provide Ontario with a plan to lower tuition costs, they are also saying that the provincial aid would be cut by two to three per cent, which could be detrimental to the budget.
The NDP and Liberals have not released a joint statement about the proposed tuition hike, but Premier Kathleen Wynn has said in recent days that she supports the idea of raising tuition and says the province should be able to make tuition-free.
Wynne said that her government is committed to lowering tuition for all Ontarians and she believes that Ontario is the “right place” for tuition increases.
The Ontario Liberal party’s policy would put a $10,000 cap on the maximum tuition increase.
The party has also proposed to limit the amount of aid the province can provide for students who qualify for Ontario’s Guaranteed Income Supplement, which allows families to qualify for a payment that can be used toward higher education.
Ontarians will have the option of paying tuition for a period of six months before their aid can be reduced, and students who are already enrolled in a college program can still apply for additional aid.
The new tuition proposal comes on the heels of an announcement by Premier Kathleen Wade-Brown that she will introduce a new $15,000 tuition-related aid package for the 2018-2019 school year.
That proposal is expected to be approved by the provincial legislature, and will likely lead to tuition-based aid increases to be phased in over the coming years.
The Liberal Party’s proposal comes a day after Premier Wade-Drew made a statement that she is working to provide “fair access to the education system.”
That statement came after a meeting with the government and the heads of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Wade-Crawford said the province has no plans to increase the provincial student loan debt limit, but she wants to work with the union to improve the province “as a whole.”