Cuts to public funding and an increasingly corporate mentality among administrators have contributed to an embrace of privatization and contracting out by universities and colleges.
At some institutions, entire sectors such as food service and custodial services have been contracted out to companies that pay workers very low wages and fail to provide good benefits and pensions.
For instance, more than two-thirds of Canadian universities and colleges have contracted out their food services. The companies that tend to hold these food service contracts are notorious for paying low wages, offering few benefits, and frequently flipping contracts, forcing workers to start over again with no seniority, losing any wages or bonuses they have accrued through years of hard work.
Privatization of services can put health and safety of students and workers at risk. Services end up scaled back, or corners are cut, because there aren’t enough people to do the job properly. Forcing workers to rush, failing to provide proper training, and refusing to provide proper tools can compromise quality and put the health and safety of staff and students at risk.
But increasingly, privatization is no longer limited to support services; educational services are being privatized as well. In Ontario, six colleges have signed agreements with private, for-profit colleges that grant a diploma from the publicly-funded institution to international students who have studied at the private college. At another 13 colleges and universities across the country, partnerships have been signed with private, for-profit educational service providers who provide English classes and, in some cases, academic courses to international students on campus as well.
Our vision for Education for All would end contracting out and the privatization of services in order to ensure the highest quality education.
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