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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Private schools hurt public education as for-profit clinics would hurt public healthcare: NUPGE

Excerpt from a National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) press release, September 18, 2020:

When the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario chose to cut the number of in-school classes, instead of making classes smaller, most parents were outraged. The number of children taking classes online this fall provided an opportunity to make in-school classes smaller and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in schools. Instead, the Progressive Conservatives used the opportunity to cut the number of classes.
At the same time as the Progressive Conservatives were putting cutting costs ahead of safety, the private schools that many children of wealthy families attend were putting additional safety measures in place. While families with children in public schools have to hope for the best, wealthy families who are sending their children to private schools will be able to avoid the effect of the Progressive Conservatives decision to cut the number of classes.
What is happening to education in Ontario takes place all too often when the wealthy are able to avoid the consequences of cuts and under-funding by buying services privately. And if it is happening with a service as important as education, we can be certain that it will happen in our health care system if the operators of for-profit clinics succeed in the Cambie case.
Private school fees for one child can be as much as $62,524 per child per year. That’s more than the median family income in Canada. For low- and middle-income Canadians, the public school system is the only affordable option.

That’s not the case for the wealthy. If cuts and underfunding undermine the quality and safety of the public school system, they can afford to send their children to private schools...
...While the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the challenge to medicare by for-profit clinics, the Cambie case is not over. It, it is safe to assume that the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. If the for-profit clinics win at the Supreme Court, as what is happening with education in Ontario shows, it will be the beginning of a two-tier system where the wealthy can afford quality treatment and the rest of us have to hope for the best.
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