Québec Education/universities

Written by  //  June 19, 2024  //  Education, Québec  //  No comments

English Montreal School Board scores highest graduation rate in Quebec
(CTV) The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has scored the highest graduation rate in the province for the 2022-23 school year.
Chairperson Joe Ortona made the announcement at a board meeting Tuesday evening.
“I am immensely proud to announce that the EMSB has once again reached the pinnacle of success, achieving an astounding 95.9 per cent success rate,” Ortona said at the meeting.
That puts the EMSB above the provincial rate of 84.2 per cent, and above private schools at 93.5 per cent.
This comes as the board is spending millions of dollars in legal challenges against three bills adopted by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government.
The EMSB is waiting for its challenge against Bill 40 to be heard at the Court of Appeal.
The bill attempted to turn English school boards into school service centres.
The board is also taking its case against Bill 21(opens in a new tab), the religious symbols ban, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

18 June
McGill withdraws amnesty offer, toughens tone with pro-Palestinian protesters
McGill president Deep Saini says the university is exploring “the full spectrum of legal recourses” and disciplinary processes.
As the encampment at McGill’s downtown campus by pro-Palestinian protesters entered its 50th day, McGill’s administration announced it is ceasing discussions with the protesters and is withdrawing an offer of amnesty to students involved in the protest.
Saini said that over the course of the last 50 days, “we have seen a series of completely unacceptable incidents take place and have sought assistance from the police to address these matters. … As it has become clear that no fruitful outcome will result from these talks, we are ceasing discussions.”
Saini repeated his description of the encampment as “an unauthorized and illegal occupation of McGill property” that has “led to alarming behaviours,” including “targeted harassment and intimidation of students, staff and faculty,” the “forceful entry and illegal occupation of the James Administration Building,” the “hanging of a political figure’s effigy at the Roddick Gates” and “incendiary and provocative rhetoric, signage and graffiti both at the encampment and throughout the campus that intimidate, inflict harm and are often experienced as antisemitic.”

17 June
‘In very bad taste’: Montreal police consulting RCMP in probe of McGill encampment’s ad
But they say they have no legal foundation to dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment.
The post that appeared last week on the Instagram account of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill features a group of young people wearing black and white head scarves sitting on the grass reading books, some holding rifles. The post asks the “youth of Montreal” to register for a four-week semester of classes on “The Palestine Question.” Activities would include political discussions, and historical and “revolutionary lessons.”

6 June
Police use tear gas on crowd as pro-Palestinian activists occupy McGill University building
McGill president recently called for police response to rising tensions on campus
(CBC) Montreal police fired tear gas at a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters outside McGill University’s James Administration Building, where activists had blockaded themselves on the third floor Thursday evening.
Around 6 p.m. inside the building on the university’s downtown campus, masked demonstrators could be seen opening windows, chanting and waving a Palestinian flag on what appeared to be the third floor.

30 May
‘Unsustainable trajectory’: McGill expects $91M in losses due to Quebec funding overhaul
Andy Riga
The university may sell real estate, suspend major infrastructure projects and consider “strategic enrolment growth” at international locations.
In 2023-24, McGill posted a $422,000 surplus. But it expects a deficit of $12 million in 2024-25, according to a budget approved by its board of governors.
If it doesn’t cut costs or raise revenue, McGill University could face at least $91 million in cumulative losses and an annual deficit of $89 million by 2028 due to Quebec’s tuition and funding overhaul.
And the situation will deteriorate further if new French proficiency rules cause a drop in enrolment when they take effect next year, as both McGill and Concordia have warned may happen.
Quebec’s university policy changes are part of Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry’s drive to increase funding for French universities and reduce the number of non-French speakers in Montreal’s post-secondary institutions.
The government has complained too much English is being spoken on Montreal streets, with non-French-speaking students partly to blame.
McGill and Concordia are asking the courts to cancel Quebec’s tuition changes, arguing they contravene the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights.

27 May
Students horrified after seeing Netanyahu hanged in effigy on McGill’s Roddick Gates
“It’s really frustrating that hate has become acceptable at my school.”
The students noticed the effigy Sunday evening and say it was taken down, but not before one took a photo of what they described as a disturbing and offensive image. They also said they believe it was placed there by people involved with the pro-Palestinian encampment that went up on a field next to the gates a month ago.

22 May
The Value of Universities to Quebec and Canada
Céline Cooper: CPAC did a magnificent job capturing our recent event, The Value of Universities to Quebec and Canada, jointly organized by the Consortium of English-Language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Quebec and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and making it available on the Public Record.
The Consortium of English Language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Quebec and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada host a roundtable on the value of universities to Quebec and Canada at the McGill Faculty Club in Montreal.
Graham Carr (president and vice-chancellor, Concordia University), Sébastien Lebel-Grenier (principal and vice-chancellor, Bishop’s University), Deep Saini (president and vice-chancellor, McGill University), Martine St-Victor (general manager, Edelman Montreal), and Val Walker (CEO, Business + Higher Education Roundtable) participate in the panel discussion moderated by Francine Pelletier (journalist-in-residence at Concordia University). (March 13, 2024)

17 May
Toula Drimonis: When English universities are downgraded, so is Quebec
CAQ policies targeting anglophone institutions will have a lasting effect on the province’s economy and reputation. No one wins.
Government-imposed tuition hikes on out-of-province university students drew protests in February. Last week, Moody’s credit-rating agency downgraded Concordia and put McGill on a watch list. No one should be surprised, writes Toula Drimonis.
Moody’s ranks the creditworthiness of borrowers using a standardized ratings scale. Good ratings mean favourable borrowing conditions, while a downgrade means the opposite — higher rates. This affects everything from day-to-day operations and academic hires to long-term infrastructure plans.
The agency concluded that the tuition hikes and policy changes, including new French-proficiency requirements, will deter out-of-province students and international students from attending these two Montreal universities, thus straining their finances. We therefore have, in the CAQ, a government whose deliberate policy decisions undermine and financially weaken Quebec higher-learning institutions simply because they’re English institutions.
McGill is objectively the province’s highest-ranking university and one of the most prestigious in the world. It adds millions of dollars to Quebec’s economy. Instead of ensuring this academic institution continues to excel and attract research talent, the premier and higher education minister have succeeded in kneecapping it.

16 May
A thorn in Legault’s side, Joe Ortona will seek re-election as EMSB chair
The premier once labelled the EMSB a “radical group” over Ortona’s stance on Quebec language laws.
Andy Riga
Under Ortona, the EMSB is fighting the Coalition Avenir Québec government on several fronts, launching lawsuits against Legault’s secularism law (Bill 21) and his reinforcement of French language rules (Bill 96).
The EMSB and other boards are also in court to overturn the CAQ government’s plan to scrap English school boards.
Ortona said he will run with 10 other candidates, including two announced Thursday.
Julien Feldman, a commissioner since 2007, is seeking re-election in an area that covers Westmount, downtown and Montreal’s Sud-Ouest borough.
Chelsea Craig, who works for Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and is a Quebec Community Groups Network board member, is running in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

27 April
Protesters set up encampment at McGill University in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
The protesters held up signs with messages saying “McGill funds genocide.”
The tents went up after 1:30 p.m. and a ring of more than 100 young people formed around the encampment and chanted slogans like “Palestine will live forever.”

13 March
The Value of Universities to Quebec and Canada (YouTube)
‘Urban myth’: McGill, Concordia, Bishop’s deny they’re fat cats compared to French universities
Drawing distinctions between universities based on language is “yet another expression of ill-informed populism,” McGill principal Deep Saini says.
(Montreal Gazette) Quebec’s three English universities say they’re partly to blame for what they describe as the misguided but widespread perception that they are richer than French universities and disconnected from the province’s francophone majority.
“We have not been doing a good job in communicating what we’re doing as universities but also our impact on Quebec society,” Bishop’s principal Sébastien Lebel-Grenier said at a recent panel discussion at McGill.
The Value of Universities to Quebec and Canada
On March 13th, 2024, you are invited to join us for a roundtable panel on the value of universities to Quebec and Canada. The event will feature a conversation with Graham Carr, President and Vice-Chancellor, Concordia University; Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Bishop’s University; Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University; Martine St.-Victor, General Manager, Edelman Montreal; and Val Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Business and Higher Education Roundtable (BHER). The panel will be moderated by Francine Pelletier, journalist, documentary filmmaker, journalist-in-residence at Concordia University.

McGill and Concordia students rally to protest against tuition hikes
Chanting slogans and bearing placards, they jeered Premier François Legault outside his offices across from McGill.
Chanting “Education is a right, not just for the rich and white,” hundreds of Concordia University students marched down Sherbrooke St. Wednesday afternoon before joining their peers at McGill in the latest protest against tuition hikes targeting anglophone universities in Quebec.
Concordia student unions begin strike, prepare for demonstration on Wednesday
(CTV) “It’s been framed as a English versus French initiative and we really want to challenge that.”

5 March
Researchers unpack claims McGill, Concordia are overfunded and hurting French
“Ideological arguments underline what appears to be a conflation of two different problems: the chronic underfunding of the university system and the future of French in Quebec.”
Andy Riga
Conclusion
The researchers ask whether higher education policy could promote and protect French “through effective francization measures in partnership with English-language institutions, while also supporting diverse and global student populations?”
They conclude: ”For the latter to happen, English-language universities need to be recognized as an asset to Quebec. Evidence would be reviewed to defuse claims of their being overfunded or detrimental to the French language. Infrastructure spending allotted to them would be analyzed with a broad view of Quebec society and of change over time, to catch sight of collective benefits.
“The English universities would be valued as points of entry to Quebec’s unique culture, where students can easily find resources to support integration, such as French language courses.
“Moreover, rather than being only recognized as linguistic community institutions representing and serving their respective, separate populations, universities both English and French would also be seen as parts of one Quebec system contributing to Quebec society and the economy as a whole.”

27 February
Behind the scenes: A timeline of how McGill and Concordia were blindsided on tuition
In October 2023, after months of meetings with Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry, the English universities thought tuition reform would not hurt them. They were very wrong.
Andy Riga
McGill and Concordia universities said they were shocked in October when Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry announced major tuition changes directly targeting the English institutions’ finances, enrolment and reputations.
The reasons for their alarm and dismay were laid bare on Friday when the two universities filed separate lawsuits, describing what went on behind the scenes before Déry and French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge announced the tuition reform.

23 February
Concordia, McGill to take Quebec to court over tuition hikes for out-of-province student
Montreal’s Concordia University sees 27% drop in applicants from rest of Canada
Two English universities in Montreal are launching separate lawsuits against the Quebec government over tuition hikes for out-of-province students.
“I am really unhappy that we have come to this point. This is really the last resort for us,” said Graham Carr, president and vice-chancellor of Concordia University.
“We are taking this action to defend our institution and we are taking this action to uphold the values that are integral to who we are as Concordia.”
McGill University and Concordia are both taking legal action as the two schools have seen a significant drop in applicants. Reducing the number of students coming from the rest of Canada and abroad also limits diversity, said Carr, which is something Concordia values.
Concordia’s application for judicial review, filed in Quebec Superior Court on Friday morning, asks the court to quash the tuition hikes, arguing that its purpose is to weaken English-language universities and is based on “stereotypes and false assumptions about the English-speaking community of Quebec.”
In a news release, a McGill spokesperson said the university is asking the court to suspend the application of the tuition increases temporarily, while it considers the case.
McGill and Concordia’s lawsuits both argue that the government’s measures constitute discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
They also argue the tuition hikes were unreasonable and were adopted following an inadequate consultation process.
18 December 2023
McGill, Concordia can take Quebec to court over tuition hikes, French requirements, lawyers say
‘Discrimination on the basis of language is discrimination,’ says civil rights lawyer (Michael Norman Bergman)
Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey says Quebec’s actions regarding its English-language universities should go before the courts because ‘politicians have proved unwilling to stand up to this new Quebec nationalism.’

22 February
CAQ negativity about out-of-province students ‘harmed Montreal’: UdeM rector
“I don’t think it’s the presence of these students that transforms the French-speaking face of Montreal.”
The Legault government’s decision to target university students from other provinces has “harmed” Montreal, the rector of Université de Montréal says.
Daniel Jutras also says students from the rest of Canada aren’t making Montreal less French, and the decision to target Concordia and McGill won’t help French universities much.
He made the comments in an interview published Thursday by La Presse.
Le recteur de l’Université de Montréal, Daniel Jutras, est d’avis que la décision de hausser les droits de scolarité des étudiants hors Québec a fait du tort à Montréal.
La décision de hausser les droits de scolarité des étudiants hors Québec a fait beaucoup de vagues dans les universités, l’automne dernier. Mais ce geste irréfléchi de la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) n’a pas fait monter le niveau d’eau dans la piscine. Il n’a pas amené davantage de fonds publics dans les coffres dégarnis des universités.

21 February
Droits de scolarité : Tout ça pour ça ?
La Presse – Francine Pelletier
The Quebec government’s tuition hikes for out-of-province university students will not help with the survival of French nor with funding for French-language universities, writes Francine Pelletier, a professor at Concordia University. La hausse des droits de scolarité imposée aux universités anglophones est un autre coup d’épée dans l’eau de la part d’un gouvernement en perte de vitesse. Elle n’aidera ni la survie du français ni le financement des universités francophones, tout en semant la division au Québec et la confusion partout ailleurs.

Rescind out-of-province tuition hike, advisory committee tells Quebec
But the government says it will ignore the opinion because the committee filed its report four days late.
Raising questions about how the government came up with the new $12,000-per-year rate, the Comité consultatif sur l’accessibilité financière aux études says the hike “seems unjustified and risks compromising access to quality education and depriving society of potential talent.”
Under Quebec law, the province’s higher education minister must seek the committee’s advice when universities are given new directives concerning tuition. However, the committee’s recommendations are not binding.
McGill, Concordia and the Quebec Community Groups Network on Friday urged the government to listen to the committee.
Quebec government ignored advice from advisory committee to ditch out-of-province tuition hikes
Government advisory committee says hikes will compromise education access
Antoni Nerestant
(CBC) Quebec is sticking with its plan to impose a significant increase in tuition for out-of-province students, ignoring advice from a government advisory committee in the process.
The Comité Consultatif sur l’Accessibilité Financière aux Études — a committee that studies issues regarding education access — raised several concerns about the upcoming tuition hike in a Jan. 19 letter to Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry, which was obtained by CBC News.
… In its letter, however, the advisory committee questions the CAQ government’s rationale for the severity of the increase and says it would like to have more data to understand it. It says the move isn’t justified and “risks compromising access to quality education and to deprive society of potential talents.”
McGill University, expected to be one of the institutions hardest hit by the policy, issued a statement, highlighting that it has asked the ministry “repeatedly” for data justifying the move.
… Concordia University also issued a statement, saying the committee’s opinion “adds to the chorus of voices that have already noted their negative impact, including the mayor of Montreal and the Chamber of Commerce.”
The university urged the Quebec government to take the committee’s views seriously.
By the looks of things, it will not.
And that’s at least partly due to the fact the committee submitted its opinion four days after the deadline the higher education minister had set. A spokesperson for the minister told CBC News that it’s moved on to the next step in implementing the new tuition model and pointed out the fact that the committee did not respect the deadline.
The spokesperson also said the committee’s opinion didn’t seem to take into account the government’s reasons for hiking the fees: addressing the imbalance in funding between French-language and English-language universities and and minimizing the extent to which Quebecers fund the education of non-Quebecers.
Opinion: University autonomy under attack in Quebec
The francization edict the CAQ government has imposed on anglo universities contradicts an ideal rooted in the Quiet Revolution.
Autonomy for universities and academic freedom for teachers are fundamental concepts in a free and modern society, writes Denis Hurtubise of the Université de Sudbury
What does university autonomy mean?
Broadly speaking, autonomy is for universities what academic freedom is for teachers. Just like professors generally are free to teach and conduct research without the threat of censure, universities are meant to be free from external control — from government or other entities. These concepts are fundamental in a free and modern society like ours.
Autonomy enables universities to advance knowledge for the good of society, instead of serving the interests of, say, a particular business or political agenda. At the same time, it ensures that they operate under the supervision of their own governance bodies — a senate and board of governors.

15 January
Challenging Quebec’s tuition plan
It would be an uphill battle, and not only because it would rely on novel legal arguments.
By Doug Beazley
(The National Magazine -Canadian Bar Ass’n) These are heady days in Canada for experts in constitutional law and intergovernmental relations — which tends to mean anxious times for just about everyone else.
Given the recent phenomenon of premiers threatening to defy federal laws they don’t like and pre-empting Charter challenges by invoking the notwithstanding clause, it might be easy to overlook the overhaul of university financing in Quebec announced by Premier François Legault’s government just before the holidays.
Advocates for the anglophone community in Quebec see Legault’s university policy as part of a populist trend at the provincial level undermining constitutional guarantees of minority rights in Canada. They also believe the policy is vulnerable to a court challenge. But there’s no clear consensus on the form of such a challenge.
“It is essential to Canada — to the existence of Canada — to protect the rights of linguistic minorities to live their languages and cultures wherever they are in the country,” says Ronald Caza, a specialist in constitutional and human rights law at Caza Saikaley in Ottawa. “To do that, they need institutions like McGill. Governments cannot be imposing policies that put those essential institutions at risk.”
The obvious path to a court challenge would be through the Charter of Rights. A claim under section 15 would argue that the university policy violates the right of anglophones to be protected from persecution based on “national or ethnic origin.”
A second option, says [Michael Bergman, a Montreal-based lawyer who has represented linguistic minority groups in both Ontario and Quebec], would be to go after the policy through section 6 of the Charter, which shields mobility rights. The argument, he said, would be that Quebec is imposing a financial penalty to discourage out-of-province students.
“[The policy] imposes a special premium — let’s just call it a tax — on out-of-province Canadians attending English universities in Quebec,” he said. “The tax is meant to be a disincentive.”
Julius Grey of Grey Casgrain, a Montreal lawyer and expert in constitutional law, acknowledges that any Charter challenge would invite the Legault government to invoke the notwithstanding clause. Such an action would itself be vulnerable to a shift in public opinion, he says.
“This is identity politics,” Grey says. “There’s no magic bullet. But the judiciary exists within society, so changes in public opinion, in the political context, do matter.”

A lengthy, detailed, and accurate summary of the CAQ attack on Quebec’s anglophone universities
Quebec’s Anglophone universities move to soften fee hike
Nathan M Greenfield
As covered…last October, the tuition increase, which was originally slated to bring tuition to CA$17,000, was part of a suite of measures that [Fabrice Labeau, McGill’s deputy provost (student life and learning)] has called “a targeted attack on some of our [Anglophone] institutions”.
(University World News) The financial damage to McGill and Concordia caused by the Legault government’s plans – the loss of between CA$42 million and CA$94 million for McGill and CA$35 million for CU, as well as weakened ‘reputation and strategic’ brands – caused the international financial credit agency Moody’s to issue negative guidance for both English universities.
Both McGill’s credit ratings of ‘Aa2 stable’ and CU’s ‘Aa3 stable’ ratings were placed ‘under review for downgrade’. A downgrade will make it more expensive for the universities to borrow money.
In an effort to head off the worst financial effects, in an open letter to its community in early December, McGill announced that since salaries were the university’s largest expense “all recruitment processes presently underway are suspended, effective immediately”.
Additionally, McGill was suspending work on the planned CA$700 million redevelopment of the 130-year-old Royal Victoria Hospital on the top slope of Mount Royal, for which Montreal is named. Further, since 40% of McGill’s Schulich School of Music students are from out-of-province, any significant decline in the number of these students would threaten the survival of the school, the roots of which go back to 1884.
For its part, CU has frozen executive salaries, is continuing a hiring freeze, cutting its budget by 7.8% and looking at suspending infrastructure projects.
The English community’s one remaining option is to take the government to court. A court challenge is a long shot because higher education is a provincial responsibility. It is not covered by Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter), which became part of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, that requires provinces to provide education in minority languages “where the number of those children so warrants”, for example.
However, according to Julius Grey, who has decades of experience as a civil rights lawyer, Québec’s actions violate both Section 15 of the Charter and Section 10 of Québec’s Charte des droits et libertés de la personne (C-d-Droits, Charter of Rights and Liberties of the Person).
Comment posted on LinkedIn
Harold Simpkins, Professor Emeritus, Concordia University
Bravo to the Quebecois government for its remarkable victory over excellence in the province’s university network. The successes of McGill, Concordia and Bishops are not going unpunished. Press coverage such as this must be a source of great pride for every Quebecois who supported and encouraged the attacks on these outstanding universities. Well done!

3 January
Clifford Lincoln: It’s time for prominent alumni to condemn Quebec university scheme
English-language institutions should stop apologizing for what they are.
(The Gazette) It is high time for English-language institutions to stop apologizing for what they are, and tell the government enough is enough. To start with, it is high time for the McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s alumni here, there and across the world to raise their voices in unison, and raise them very loud, to denounce the outright discrimination and vindictive edicts against their alma maters. Among these alumni are luminaries and recognized leaders whose opinions carry considerable weight.
Premier François Legault never admits being wrong, except when being embarrassed in the public square, as the Quebec City tunnel fiasco and the hockey games for Kings and billionaires have shown. He deserves the same fate for his petty bullying of the universities.
This is thus a clarion call to leading alumni to publish an open letter in prominent newspapers here, in the rest of Canada, in the U.S. and across the oceans, denouncing the senseless and discriminatory raid on the universities — and the time is now.
…The recent university diktats, coming out of the blue and taking their aim at Quebec’s three English-language universities, are not only mean and self-defeating, but an assault on educational and minority freedoms, as well as the sustainability of these worthy and historical institutions — an essential part of the contributing fabric not only of Quebec, but of Canada and lands beyond.
… I have been convinced, since the start of the university fiat, that making nice with the government and trying to placate it by invoking its mantra of the decline of French was naively playing into its hands, as events have shown. I have never understood why bona fide and loyally contributing English-language institutions suddenly believe they have to “play the game,” instead of simply affirming the reality and the truth — that they are English-language institutions, that being such is not a sin, and that they contribute their very significant share to the commonweal.

2023

24 December
Chris Selley: Quebec’s English universities realize now they’re at war with the Legault government
The university [McGill] will simply make up the $3,000 proposed tuition hike with its own money

22 December
After Quebec tuition hike, Concordia offering up to $4,000 to out-of-province students
(CTV) Concordia University seems to be following in the footsteps of McGill by offering bursaries of up to $4,000 for new students from outside Quebec to offset the province’s controversial tuition hike.
The university announced Friday it is launching the “Canada Scholars Award” for undergraduate applicants in all programs and will offer it for the duration of the degree as long as academic performance is maintained.
“The Canada Scholars Awards have been created to send a message across the country that Concordia is proud of the diversity of its student body and wants to ensure that its traditional welcome is maintained. The university is responding to concerns that recently imposed tuition fee increases would result in fewer students choosing to study in Quebec,” the university said in a news release.
The award will be automatically applied to undergraduate students, and the amount offered will be based on their grades, ranging from B- to A+.
We don’t have the means that McGill does’ |The Corner Booth (YouTube)
Aaron Rand, Bill Brownstein and Lesley Chesterman chat with Graham Carr – President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University on the Corner Booth at the Snowdon Deli in Montreal on Thursday December 21, 2023. (Transcript available)

20 December
Quebec’s tuition hike, French rules for English universities can be challenged in court: lawyer
(CTV) McGill is now offering a bursary to offset Quebec’s new tuition hike(opens in a new tab) for out-of-province students attending English universities, but one lawyer says the university can fight back with an even bigger weapon: a legal challenge.
Julius Grey, an expert in constitutional law, said Quebec’s three English universities — McGill, Concordia, and Bishop’s — “certainly” have a case to bring forward a Charter challenge against Quebec over the new policy, which he described as a “narrow-minded and petty attempt to destroy some of the best institutions.”
“The CAQ justified its language laws by saying French is in danger, which was not true, and we can show that it isn’t in danger. But even if it were, there is no way that this tuition hike will promote French. It’s simply a mean-spirited attempt to diminish,” Grey said in an interview Tuesday with CJAD 800.

19 December
Let’s not overlook the huge contributions that foreign students make to this country
Mark Lautens, professor at the University of Toronto and AstraZeneca Endowed Chair of Organic Chemistry.
(Globe & Mail) … It is also important to remember that this international movement of graduate students represents a globalization of research and scholarship that is in every country’s interest. Many Canadian graduate students also go abroad, and many, though not all, return.
… Finally, it’s worth considering the advantages Canada gains when some of these international doctoral students stay after completing their degrees. They arrive with excellent credentials from strong universities, and not a cent of Canadian money was spent educating them. So far from being the unskilled immigrants portrayed by some, these individuals bring superb skills and a passion to succeed to their new home. They are superbly positioned to help Canada achieve a more productive and innovative future. And those who return to their home countries become informal ambassadors for Canada, potential customers for Canadian goods, and partners with Canadian businesses.

16 December
Tasha Kheiriddin: Legault wants to kill Quebec’s English universities. He must be stopped
Whopping tuition hikes and over-the-top language requirements for out-of-province students are decimating enrollments
Freshmen at the two schools mostly live in residence while the remainder of the student body populate the 30-odd square blocks of the McGill ghetto and de Maisonneuve corridor between Atwater and Guy streets, where they also contribute to the Montreal economy to the tune of $427 million annually, including $82 million from out-of-province Canadian students alone, according to Fabrice Labeau, deputy provost of McGill.
And they contribute to the world. Take McGill, dubbed the “Harvard of the North.” It has produced 12 Nobel laureates, 147 Rhodes Scholars, nine Academy Award winners, 13 Grammy Award winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners, and 121 Olympians with over 35 Olympic medals. Its medical researchers have contributed to vaccines and therapies for hepatitis, HIV, cancer, heart disease and more. Currently, the university is spearheading the revitalization of the Royal Victoria Hospital, the “New Vic,” to create a medical excellence centre “dissolving boundaries between disciplines, communities and institutions, to focus on shared goals benefiting all of humanity.”

15 December
Quebec tuition: English universities could challenge Legault government in court: lawyers
“They’re basically trying to eliminate English, and I think that’s illegal. I think that’s discriminatory,” lawyer Julius Grey said.
Andy Riga
Two lawyers with long histories of challenging Quebec language laws say English universities would be on solid ground if they took the Legault government to court over the tuition hike and French proficiency requirements announced this week. … McGill and Concordia say they’re not ruling out possible court challenges.
Julius Grey and Michael Bergman have been involved in multiple constitutional challenges of Quebec language laws over decades. Each is currently leading separate legal fights against Bill 96, Premier François Legault’s wide-ranging expansion of rules promoting the French language.
Several lawsuits targeting previous Coalition Avenir Québec legislation are currently winding their way through the courts — including Bill 21 (restrictions on religious symbols), Bill 40 (school board reform) and Bill 96.
Legault’s government is “viscerally nationalist” and “doesn’t think through the consequences of its actions — the intellectual, the academic, the cultural consequences,” Grey said.

Editorial: Tuition edict marks sad day for all Quebec
English universities are Quebec universities. They educate Quebecers of all backgrounds and contribute immensely to Quebec society.
A poll showed most Quebecers support alternatives to raising tuition as proposed by English universities but ultimately rejected by the CAQ government.

(Montreal Gazette Editorial Board) Premier François Legault kept Quebec’s English universities in limbo for weeks after announcing a doubling of tuition for out-of-province students that would gut their enrolment and finances. On Thursday, his government disregarded all warnings and unveiled a new scheme that McGill University president Deep Saini characterized as even worse.
In a letter sent to the rectors of McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s, Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry explained Quebec will hike tuition for “non-Québécois” students to $12,000 from $9,000 rather than the proposed $17,000. And the government will also require English universities to ensure 80 per cent of their graduates attain an intermediate level of French — or face sanctions. That’s double the 40 per cent the universities themselves put forth in a constructive and “historic” offer.
There’s an exemption for Bishop’s from the fee increase and the potential penalties, but not the francization demands.
Neither Déry nor Minister of the French Language Jean-François Roberge had the courage to hold a press conference to explain or justify these new measures. Perhaps that’s because they defy explanation or justification.
The $12,000 is still an uncompetitive rate, about a third higher than the average domestic tuition across Canada. And students will be expected to pay more while taking longer to complete their programs, once the French requirements are factored in.
‘Catastrophic’ tuition plan is a ‘direct attack’ on English universities, McGill says
Changes “are far worse than those announced on Oct. 13 — worse for Quebec, worse for its universities, worse for Quebec businesses who need talent, and worse for McGill.”
Allison Hanes: Legault is setting up McGill and Concordia to fail
While pretending to offer a compromise, Legault is signing off on a tuition hike that will still decimate enrolment, while holding a new knife to the throats of English universities through unrealistic language requirements.
There is an exception for Bishop’s on the tuition hike and the potential sanctions, but not on the language stipulation. Divide and conquer.
Legault’s disdain for English is so great that he’s clearly willing to sabotage Quebec universities, Quebecers’ opportunities, Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada, Quebec’s economic prospects and Quebec’s reputation on the world stage.
If closed doors, parochial isolation and decimated institutions are his intent, Legault can be very proud.
François Legault’s true goal is to fundamentally transform Quebec’s English universities
By Jeffery Vacante, assistant professor of history at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of National Manhood and the Creation of Modern Quebec.
(Globe & Mail) As they begin to offer more and more courses in French, and as they begin to conduct more and more of their affairs in French, McGill and Concordia will no longer resemble the institutions they once were, nor serve the English-speaking community they once served.
That, in the end, appears to be the point. Premier François Legault’s true goal is to cut McGill and Concordia down to size, redistribute their resources to francophone universities, and ultimately to begin the process of transforming them into French-language institutions.

12 December
Legault is giving English universities the cold shoulder: McGill and Concordia
The two universities say they have been trying in vain to speak to the government since late November.

7-10 December
From the editors at Dispatch from the Front Line:
“… Both Concordia and McGill acknowledged that they were at least in part responsible for undermining the French language in Montreal; they accepted that not enough students stay in the province; they confessed, implicitly, to being bad for Quebec. And so they went to Legault with a proposal: How about we spend a bunch of money on French language lessons for our ROC students, how about we force some of them to take classes in French; how about we try to find them job placements in the Quebec regions when they graduate?
The government’s response, via Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry, was exactly what you might expect: Thanks, but no thanks. We’re pleased you recognize that you are bad for Quebec, but this is not nearly good enough. And so, by confessing to all the sins ascribed to them by the government, without making any effort at sticking up for their value to the city and to the province, they have put their institutions’ very existence at risk — as they well admit.
At this point, McGill Principal Deep Saini, and Concordia President Graham Carr, should probably have resigned, or been asked to do so by their governing boards. It’s a classic you-had-one-job situation; if you can’t stand up for the institution you are paid to stand up for, then step aside for someone who will.
Saini appears to have recognized what an enormous mistake it was to go pleading to Quebec City with his wallet open and his dignity left at the door. Last week, he mused about how, if it came to it, McGill might consider relocating some of its operations to another province.
As a university principal I have the responsibility to make sure the university stays in good health. So we will look at all options. I don’t want to comment on that one in specifics, but we are going to look at all options to make sure that (McGill remains) one of the greatest universities in the world.
To this we say: It’s about time. McGill has spent the better part of the last two decades trying to make itself acceptable to Quebec City, without ever making the case for why Quebec City should love McGill for what it is, which is Canada’s best-known world-class institution of higher learning.
So Deep Saini has grown a pair. And guess what? In response to Saini’s musings, Legault said that “It’s important for me to keep McGill in Quebec.”
Oh really? How important? We don’t know. But the bully has blinked. McGill’s hand is stronger than it thought. It’s time for McGill to call Legault’s bluff once and for all.

‘It’s important for me to keep McGill in Quebec,’ Legault says
But McGill principal Deep Saini says he’s tried to engage with Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry since late November “to no avail.”
Andy Riga
Saini said he is “happy the premier stated it was important to him that McGill stays in Quebec. I have said before that McGill is a proud Quebec institution. Quebec is part of our identity and it is our home. We have no desire to leave it.”
He said the English universities’ alternative offer, submitted to Legault on Nov. 6, is “an ambitious plan to be the government’s allies in the promotion and protection of French. Our proposal set an ambitious and clear target: ensuring at least 40 per cent of non-francophone undergraduate students attain a level 6 proficiency in French.”
Concordia spokesperson Fiona Downey said her university is “pleased to pursue talks with the government.”
However, ”we really need a delay (until fall 2025) so that these very important discussions can continue and we can reach a solution that is sustainable.”
… Legault has indicated he may be open to exempting the province’s third and smallest English university — Bishop’s — from the hike, given that it’s located in Sherbrooke, where the government says the French language is not in danger

Allison Hanes: There’s one problem Legault can fix right now
As the premier’s problems pile up, he should drop the controversial tuition hikes and take the three English universities up on their “historic proposal” — if francization ever was the objective.
If he is looking to save face, the government should work constructively with the three English universities on their “historic proposal” to ensure that 40 per cent of their students have an intermediate level of French by the time they graduate, a plan that will be dead in the water if the increase goes ahead. If francization ever was the objective, this is a golden opportunity.
This shouldn’t be a difficult decision. Legault has no reason to double tuition and every reason not to. What is he waiting for?
The longer he dithers, the more needless and pointless damage he inflicts on English universities, the economy, Montreal, Quebec’s reputation — and his own credibility.
He must find the courage and humility to do the right thing — the smart thing. Now.
Update: McGill won’t rule out moving some operations to another province
“We are going to look at all options to make sure that (McGill remains) one of the greatest universities in the world,” principal Deep Saini said.
“…as a university principal I have the responsibility to make sure the university stays in good health. So we will look at all options. I don’t want to comment on that one in specifics, but we are going to look at all options to make sure that (McGill remains) one of the greatest universities in the world.”
Students from the rest of Canada currently pay $8,992 per year to study in Quebec. The province announced a new rate as of fall 2024: $17,000.
That will make Quebec’s domestic tuition rates the highest in Canada, the Moody’s credit rating agency says.
McGill currently has about 8,000 students from elsewhere in Canada. The tuition hike, set to come into force in fall 2024, only applies to new students. McGill says it expects to lose about 60 per cent of out-of-province students due to the higher rates. … McGill has said the expected drop in enrolment could lead to a loss of up to $94 million in annual revenue and put up to 700 jobs at risk. The university has imposed a hiring freeze and has said “additional extraordinary measures” could follow next year.

27-30 November
Hausse des droits de scolarité pour les étudiants hors Québec: une stratégie gouvernementale qui nous éloigne des objectifs de rétention et de francisation
déclare Karl Blackburn, président et chef de la direction du CPQ.
Quebec employers tell Legault to go back to drawing board on tuition
The Conseil du patronat says even at $12,000, tuition for out-of-province students would be too high.
A day after a report said Quebec will scale back university tuition hikes for students from the rest of Canada, the province’s largest employers’ group said the fees should not be increased at all.
“The government is on the wrong track by wanting to increase tuition fees … when the current rate of (just under) $9,000 is comparable to the rates paid in other provinces, and for many programs is among the highest in Canada,” the Conseil du patronat said Thursday.
Quebec’s tuition hikes founded on division
We are the 27 department chairs and principals of Concordia’s faculty of arts and science. Collaboration, not polarization, drives learning.
(The Gazette opinion) Our raison d’être is to bring together diverse perspectives and find common ground. We are writing collectively because this is what we do: We work together. We embrace diversity. We build strength, creativity and innovation through connections.
We profoundly reject the polarization the proposed tuition changes are founded on — pitting students and universities against each other, suggesting the success of one institution must come at the expense of another. Collaboration is what drives universities and learning; not competition and division.
The purpose of higher education is to learn together, to exchange, to make connections locally and globally. Out-of-province and international students come to Quebec to be in contact with the French language and culture, and to experience our unique society.
If you walk into a classroom at Concordia, you will find a diverse mix of Quebec anglophones, francophones and allophones, and out-of-province and international students. All see this diversity as an opportunity. We work hard to make our programs as accessible as possible, including for francophone students. Rather than promoting anglicization, Concordia serves as a bridge for students to integrate themselves into the local culture.
Tuition hike will cost Quebec $35 million, deprive local students of aid: McGill
“With this measure, the government is trying to save $46.6 million, but the impact of that is that the province and its economy will lose more than $80 million.”
“With this measure, the government is trying to save $46.6 million, but the impact of that is that the province and its economy will lose more than $80 million,” Fabrice Labeau, McGill’s deputy provost of student life and learning, said in an interview Monday.
Tuition hike puts McGill, Concordia in financial peril, Moody’s warns
Changes are “credit negative” and could weaken “the reputation and strategic brand of both universities by materially altering the compositions of students.”

25 November
Opinion: Quebec should heed U.S. lessons on tuition hikes
Richard Aberle
By sharply increasing the cost to out-of-state and international students, American public universities have become more insular, and class divisions have been exacerbated, writes U.S.-born Richard Aberle, who first arrived at McGill in 1997, drawn by “the chance to study at an English-language university while being immersed in French-Canadian culture.”
(Montreal Gazette) When I decided to enrol at McGill University as a doctoral student in English literature, I was drawn to its prestige as one of the world’s great universities. Although rankings are, at best, unreliable and highly subjective measures, when I entered McGill, in 1997, The Times of London ranked McGill as the eighth-best university in the world.
…those students who leave Quebec do so having lived in Montreal for three, four or more years in a fully immersive experience. Many would not otherwise have studied French had they not enrolled in Quebec; those who leave do so with a much keener sense of the needs and perspectives of francophone culture.
Because McGill produces so many leaders in so many fields, its graduates have a disproportionate ability to influence how others perceive Quebec. If anything, Quebec’s investment in its anglophone universities provides an army of ambassadors who sell the province’s best features to others who may overlook what it has to offer.
My influence individually is quite small, but my frequent treks with friends and family to Montreal, my support of several Quebec artistic and cultural institutions, and my participation in and encouragement of more nuanced dialogue with non-Quebecers regarding the significance of language and culture are all directly the result of my having lived in Montreal for three years as a student at McGill.
In raising tuition drastically for non-Quebec students, the province risks making the same mistake state governments in the U.S. have made in raising out-of-state tuition at public universities. By sharply increasing the cost to out-of-state and international students, American public universities have become more insular: red states get redder, blue states bluer, and the political divide in America becomes a deeper chasm.

24 November
Concordia University tells departments to slash budgets by 7.8 per cent
The school says it “cannot meet its core operating costs, which consist mostly of salaries and the day-to-day operations that support teaching, research and student life.”

22 November
“Financially, it would be catastrophic”: A university principal on Quebec’s tuition hikes
Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, principal and vice-chancellor at Bishop’s University, says that Bishop’s could lose 90 per cent of its out-of-province students—forcing the university to slash a quarter of its budget

15 November
Paul Wells‘ podcast with Graham Carr of Concordia (with transcript)
Quebec’s tuition bombshell – Concordia University’s president on a “bean ball” from the premier
Canadian and international media blast tuition hike at Quebec’s anglo universities
From Canadian newspapers to American and British higher-education publications, Quebec’s tuition overhaul is making waves outside the province.
The media coverage comes as critics warn the plan harms Montreal’s reputation as a global university hub and sends a hostile message to non-Quebec students.

10 November
Monsieur Legault, voici une solution honorable
Stéphanie Grammond, éditorialiste en chef de La Presse
Comme on le disait d’entrée de jeu, il existe une voie de passage élégante pour tout le monde, une solution à deux piliers qui répondrait aux préoccupations de la CAQ.
Parlons d’abord du financement.
Au lieu de doubler les droits pour tous les étudiants des autres provinces, Québec pourrait adopter une tarification différenciée en fonction des programmes, comme c’est déjà le cas dans les autres provinces.
De cette façon, Québec respecterait le principe fondamental de réciprocité avec les autres provinces, sans nuire à l’attractivité des universités québécoises. Les prix refléteraient tout simplement la logique du marché.
Ainsi, Québec pourrait maintenir son tarif actuel de 9000 $ dans un bon nombre de programmes, mais exiger 12 000 $ en génie, 14 000 $ en administration ou encore 25 000 $ en médecine et en droit, par exemple.
Discutons maintenant du français. …

Quebec unmoved by English universities’ plea to cancel tuition hike
McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s Universities are proposing new mandatory French-as-a-second-language courses and other measures within the next three years.
Goal is to ensure at least 40% of students attain intermediate level of French
Quebec has indicated it would push forward with a tuition hike for out-of-province students despite an offer from the province’s English universities to teach them more French.
(CBC) The offer, which the heads of McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s universities presented on Monday, proposes several measures, including mandatory French-as-a-second-language courses, which they say will mean their graduates are better equipped to live and work in Quebec.
Later on Monday, Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry, who announced last month that tuition fees would double for out-of-province students from the rest of Canada — in part to reduce the decline of French in Quebec, said in a statement that her ministry was “delighted” to see the universities recognize the decline of the French language and offer more French instruction.
But there were no signs the government would change course.

‘The ball is in their court’: Quebec’s English universities made a historic proposal to Premier Legault in response to tuition hikes
(CJAD) Graham Carr, President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University
Quebec tuition: English universities make ‘historic proposal’ to Legault
In meeting with the premier Monday, Bishop’s, Concordia and McGill “committed to being an ally in terms of francizing the student population who don’t speak French on our campuses.”
Andy Riga
(Montreal Gazette) The trio urged Quebec to cancel a plan to double tuition for students from other provinces and go back to the drawing board on a new funding formula for international students.
Their overture came during a one-hour meeting on Monday with Premier François Legault and Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry in Montreal.
“We had a very frank exchange with Mr. Legault and we made certain proposals which are historic, which are unprecedented, and we are waiting for the government’s response,” McGill principal Deep Saini told reporters.
The anglophone institutions, Carr said, want “to make sure that more students coming from elsewhere feel integrated into Quebec society and linguistically proficient, and will therefore decide to stay in Quebec after graduation and contribute in a beneficial way to the growth of the Quebec economy, the growth of the Montreal economy and the development of Quebec society.”

30 October- 1 November
(QCGN Weekly update) Among those who waded into the tuition debate today was former federal Justice Minister David Lametti, also a former law professor at McGill. In a post on Linkedin, Lametti said he was “dumbfounded” by the “extreme tuition hikes” that will be disproportionately borne by McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s. He said the policy will do nothing to address chronic underfunding for Quebec universities, especially in francophone universities and do nothing to protect the French language. Furthermore, “it creates a huge impediment to attracting the best and the brightest to Quebec in a period when Quebec needs to attract and promote the best minds in the world for its research and innovation-industrial sectors to not be left behind by the green economic revolution. It is hard to conceive of a worse piece of economic and social policy.”
United we stand
Over 100 community leaders support Bishop’s at gathering in face of tuition hikes
In a show of support for Bishop’s University [BU], which is facing a governmental doubling of tuition – to $17,000 a year – for out-of-province students in 2024, over 100 local community leaders gathered for a press conference Oct. 31 in front of a packed crowd at Centennial Theatre. Student, political, educational, and business leaders took turns speaking in support of BU, punctuated by bouts of enthusiastic applause from well over 500 attendees.
Hundreds of Quebec university students protest against tuition hike
Among other chants, students shouted: “Education is a right, not just for the rich and white.”
The message? Students — past, present and future — are firmly against a proposed tuition hike that would see people from out of province pay nearly double to attend English universities in Quebec, as of fall 2024.

25-27 October
François Legault has concocted a threat to the French language that no one else can see
(Globe & Mail editorial board) This week, the heads of five French-language universities in Quebec, as well as two major francophone student groups, came out in opposition to the tuition increase, partly because they couldn’t see how it would protect the French language.
A columnist in Le Journal du Québec took the same position, and added that the fact that over half the province’s high-school students failed a standardized French spelling and grammar test in 2022 was a more pressing problem.

Le patron de la BMO inquiet pour l’économie du Québec
La crainte de la BMO est de voir une hausse des droits de scolarité décourager des étudiants de venir s’instruire dans les universités anglophones du Québec – les plus touchées par la mesure – et de surcroît dans le contexte actuel de pénurie de main-d’œuvre.
La hausse des droits de scolarité pour les étudiants venant de l’extérieur du Québec inquiète le patron de la Banque de Montréal, mais le ministre de l’Économie, Pierre Fitzgibbon, se range derrière la décision du gouvernement.
Opinion: An important debate on education takes an unfortunate turn
Daniel Jutras, Rector, Université de Montréal
(CTV) It is important to put some key issues into perspective: the tuition hikes and their likely impact, the reasons given for the increase, and some important considerations that have been ignored.
The university funding model in Quebec is complicated but the announced changes can be summed up in a few words.
The government will stop funding students from other provinces who come here to study at the undergraduate and professional master’s levels: as of the fall of 2024, new students will have to pay the full cost of their education. Many will choose to study elsewhere in Canada, where they will pay much less.
The government is also setting a minimum tuition fee for international students. The money it claws back will be distributed among universities according to a formula that has not yet been disclosed. Quebec universities were not consulted in advance about either of these measures.
French-language university heads criticize tuition hike for non-Quebec students
“Any measure that would put the very existence of a university at risk, or weaken it to the point of impairing it, must be excluded from the discussion,” the heads of Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal wrote in an open letter published in La Presse Wednesday.
Débat sur les droits de scolarité
Il faut mieux soutenir les universités d’ici
L’actuel débat sur la majoration des droits de scolarité des étudiants des autres provinces canadiennes occulte un enjeu majeur : notre réseau universitaire manque de moyens pour accomplir ses missions, écrivent les auteurs de cette lettre, à la tête d’établissements francophones importants du Québec.

Analysis: How Quebec tuition overhaul targets Bishop’s, Concordia and McGill
Many details are still up in the air, but here’s a guide to how Quebec plans to re-engineer its complicated tuition system for students from other provinces and other countries.
Andy Riga
The re-engineering of the system features many moving parts.
The Legault government wants to: collect more money from students from outside Quebec; discourage non-Quebec students from studying in English in Quebec; reduce the amount of money English universities get from non-Quebecers; and funnel more money to francophone universities.
Article content
The plan has been criticized as misguided and harmful by Mayor Valérie Plante, Quebec business groups, anglophone rights groups, the federal Liberal government and some provincial opposition parties.
On the other end, the Parti Québécois and the heads of 10 francophone post-secondary institutions support the measures, arguing that French-language universities are severely underfunded.

Let’s debunk myths about Quebec’s tuition hikes
Oversimplifications abound but the situation is more nuanced. As president of Concordia University, I can set the record straight.
“Let’s avoid simplistic formulas that won’t help us tackle the real problem: the underfunding of the entire university network, which has been denounced for years,” writes Concordia University president Graham Carr.
… Yes, the current framework — created by the government in 2018 — has generated an imbalance. But Concordia, which since its inception has been a university based on ensuring access to higher education, has never been rich. What’s more, international students, except those from France and Belgium who benefit from an exemption, are self-financing. The government — and therefore the Quebec taxpayer — does not subsidize them in undergraduate and professional master’s programs.

23 October
François Legault et les universités anglophones
Graham Fraser
(Le Devoir) Dans l’approche du gouvernement du Québec envers des institutions de la communauté anglophone, c’est difficile d’éviter l’impression qu’il y a une ignorance, et une méfiance, derrière ses gestes.

Tuition fee increase: significant support for Bishop’s University
Voices continue to be raised to ask Quebec not to change tuition fees for students outside of Quebec at Bishop’s University. After Jean Charest over the weekend, it was the turn of federal MP Marie-Claude Bibeau to lend her support on Monday.
The MP for Compton-Stanstead and the federal Minister of Revenue, Marie-Claude Bibeau, is not used to meddling in Quebec jurisdictions, but the future of Bishop’s University is too important for her to keep quiet.
“I am especially concerned about Bishop’s University which is in Lennoxville, in the heart of my riding. I know this is a jurisdiction of the Quebec government, but I have the impression that the Bishop is a little bit in their blind spot,” …

3 Canadian Universities rank inside QS World University Rankings for 2024
In their recently published World University Rankings for 2024, QS identified three schools across Canada as being among the best in the world. Specifically, QS has ranked the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia in the updated 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Opinion: Tuition scheme bad for universities, worse for students
While McGill might be harmed, I’m more worried about those who can’t afford the higher fees and the effect on Canada’s education system.
Steven Greenwood, PhD graduate from McGill, where he currently teaches in the English department, and is also a research fellow at Concordia.

21 October
Tuition hike ‘a frontal assault’ on Bishop’s University: Jean Charest
“Does anyone honestly think the future of the French language is threatened on the streets of Sherbrooke by the presence of Bishop’s University students?”
Former Quebec premier Jean Charest has joined the surging opposition to the government’s plan to nearly double tuition fees for out-of-province students, describing it as “a frontal assault” not only on Bishop’s University, but the whole Eastern Townships region.
Federal minister says Quebec made the wrong move on tuition hike, but its jurisdiction is clear
(CBC) Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Quebec’s recent announcement that it will double tuition fees for most out-of-province students is a “bad decision” that will end up hurting the province.
“I think in the long term this damages Quebec’s ability, economically and socially, to have interesting, productive long-term relationships with their partners in the federation,” LeBlanc said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday.
LeBlanc said the choice to hike tuition fees falls completely within Quebec’s jurisdiction and the federal government is Quebec’s partner in protecting the province’s French culture.”Do we think it’s a good decision?” he said. “Of course not.”

Quebec Liberals reject Legault’s brand of petty nationalism
We do not consider out-of-province students a threat, and we want our universities to rise to the top of the international rankings.
“Canadian students who return to their home province after their studies are ambassadors for Quebec, with a great awareness of our reality,” writes Marc Tanguay, interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party.

20 October
Quebec’s university tuition policy is a loss for the province and the whole country
The Legault government is trying to promote the French language and balance university funding by punishing English-speaking students. It won’t work.
Alex Usher, president of Higher Education Strategy Associates
(IRPP Policy Options) Quebec has announced a set of controversial policy changes aimed at reducing the number of people from outside the province or the country studying in English at universities in Quebec.
Confusion arose immediately because of the government’s stunningly unhelpful media release announcing what is actually two complicated sets of interrelated policies on tuition and funding.
Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry says the changes will decrease enrolment at English universities while raising more money, which the province says it will in turn give to French-language universities. French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge defended the changes as a way to protect the French language, saying non-Quebec university students who don’t speak French are contributing to the anglicization of Montreal.
The province’s anglophone universities, the mayor of Montreal, the Montreal chamber of commerce, as well as Quebec’s largest employers’ group and other critics, say the moves will not only hurt those universities financially because they will reduce the number of Canadian students from other provinces, but also have negative effects on Montreal itself and on Quebec’s ability to attract the Canadian and international talent.
Toula Drimonis: With tuition scheme, CAQ accelerates race to the bottom
There are far more proactive ways to incentivize French-language acquisition, retain graduates and redress inequities — ways that don’t needlessly divide Quebecers, treat students as political pawns and compromise world-class academic research

18 October
Coalition Avenir Quebec’s outrageous tuition policy hurts all Quebecers
(QCGN Press Release) The Quebec Community Groups Network is alarmed that a recent move by the government of Premier François Legault to hike tuition fees for out-of-province students will spur young English-speaking Quebecers to leave the province. And it will stop talented young people in other provinces and beyond from coming here.

Brilliant slicing and dicing by Paul Wells
This Quebec university tuition thing
Welcome, out-of-province students! Don’t come! Pay more money!

François Legault’s divisive lesson in language politics
(Globe & Mail Editorial Board) … The new policy is a disaster in the making for Quebec’s three English-language universities. A glance at undergraduate tuition rates for out-of-province Canadians at universities across the country – which top out at about $9,000 per year – makes it clear that the three universities will be priced out of reach for all but the wealthiest non-Quebeckers, and will deprive them of tens of millions in tuition revenue.
While the policy will affect French-speaking people living outside Quebec as much as English-speaking ones, that is irrelevant to the discussion. The policy’s stated aims are twofold: to stop subsidizing the university educations of “Canadian anglophones” who don’t stay in Quebec after they graduate; and to discourage them from coming in the first place, because their unilingual presence in Montreal threatens the French language.
This is an obvious attempt by the Legault government to demonize English-language universities in the public eye, and to justify any harm to their finances.
McGill shelves $50M French program after Quebec out-of-province tuition hike
The Montreal English-language university was creating a program to teach students, faculty and staff French
In an email response to CBC News Wednesday, McGill’s media relations office confirmed it had postponed announcing a $50 million investment over five years “to enable more people from its community to learn or improve their French.”
The university was alerted a few days ahead of Déry’s tuition hike announcement that changes were coming that could affect the school’s financial situation but was not informed what those changes would be, according to the email, which was unsigned.
“Finding the initial funding for McGill’s investment in the promotion of the French language was extremely difficult,” it wrote. “The larger goal of the program was to help students, faculty and staff integrate more fully into Quebec society, broadening the already extensive impact of our talent and expertise across Quebec.”
Wednesday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante joined the chorus of voices criticizing Quebec’s decision, saying it will dissuade students from coming to Montreal, hurt the city’s economy and push them instead toward universities in Toronto.
“We need talent, we need workers, we need students because we want our economy to grow,” Plante said.
“I want them [the Quebec government] to maybe have a bigger reflection and not to limit it to a fight between francophone against non-francophone. I think we’re missing the point here and it’s hitting hard and strong the representation of the city of Montreal as the metropolis of Quebec.”
Doubling tuition fees means students will choose Toronto over Montreal: Plante
Montreal’s mayor says she’s concerned about the economic impact of a plan announced last week to nearly double the tuition for students from other provinces enrolled in Quebec’s English universities.
Michel C. Auger Se tirer dans le pied
(La Presse) Le prétexte, c’est de rétablir l’équilibre entre le financement des universités francophones et anglophones et, du même coup, de rétablir ce que le ministre Jean-François Roberge a décrit comme « l’équilibre linguistique montréalais ».
Ce n’est bien évidemment qu’un prétexte. Parce que cette politique improvisée survient après la défaite de la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) dans l’élection partielle de Jean-Talon et des sondages montrant une remontée du Parti québécois (PQ).
En clair, cela veut dire que des électeurs nationalistes quittent la CAQ pour retourner au PQ. On n’a pas fait de grandes études sur les effets de la hausse des droits de scolarité, mais on a étudié à fond le dernier sondage Léger.

Yasmine Abdelfadel:
(Journal de Montréal) Les conséquences de cette opération de relations publiques pourraient être désastreuses, voire existentielles pour l’Université Bishop’s par exemple et ce, à court terme. À moyen terme, encore une fois on a l’impression que le gouvernement de la CAQ mène une guerre contre la communauté anglophone et ses institutions, même lorsqu’elles font notre fierté à l’international.

Tom Mulcair: With tuition hikes, CAQ is top of class in wedge politics
The CAQ’s decision to lash out at the province’s English-language universities just as the CAQ tries to play catch-up with the PQ on language and identity smacks of the most crass and unprincipled political opportunism.

13-17 October
Tuition hike could ‘discourage talent’ from choosing Quebec universities: federal minister
(Global) Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry is inviting the Quebec government to reflect on its messaging to out-of-province students after it announced it would be doubling their tuition fees.
Like many others, François-Philippe Champagne worries about what kind of impact the change will have down the road in terms of Quebec’s ability to attract talent to ensure innovation and continued growth.
Allison Hanes: Tuition hike will harm more than Quebec’s English universities
Doubling tuition for fellow Canadians is a fresh us-versus-them wedge aimed at the ties that bind this country together.
McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s University have long drawn a significant portion of their student bodies from the rest of Canada, part of a rich tradition of educational exchange, co-operation and opportunity that has fostered academic excellence. It’s an arrangement that also works both ways.
At a time in their lives when young adults are looking to spread their wings and expand their horizons, some students not only seek to leave home for their undergraduate or master’s degrees, but to move elsewhere in the country. Many from outside Quebec are drawn to vibrant, exciting, dynamic Montreal, one of the best cities in the world to be a student. And some Quebecers go in the opposite direction.
What’s so wrong with that? Section 6 of the Canadian Constitution governing “mobility rights” makes this possible — desirable, even — promising that every citizen and permanent resident has the “right to move and take up residency in any province and to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.”
That’s why there’s no border checkpoint where Highway 20 turns into the 401, Quebecers who get hurt skiing at Whistler are entitled to care at B.C. hospitals and Montrealers can get jobs in Toronto without needing a work permit.
If there was one group in this country that might have a deeper understanding of Quebec’s history, distinctness and sensitivities, it’s all the Canadian students who have been educated at universities here. They help break down the Two Solitudes that persist between Quebecers and Canadians, as well as anglophones and francophones.
Driving them away is the next step in Legault’s incremental march toward greater independence for Quebec. By erecting artificial financial barriers, he’s undermining reciprocity. The less exposure Quebecers have to other Canadians (and vice versa), the less affinity, understanding and attachment will exist — and the more Legault’s polarizing and divisive identity politics are sure to resonate.
Raising tuition for fellow Canadians at English universities is a new us-versus-them wedge aimed at the ties that bind this country together.
McGill warns of consequences from Quebec’s plan to double out-of-province tuition for English students
McGill University’s vice-chancellor warned that the Quebec government’s new plan to nearly double tuition fees for out-of-province anglophone students could jeopardize the status of the medical school, while Bishop’s University principal and vice-chancellor predicted a “catastrophic” impact that could wipe out a quarter of its budget.
Quebec will charge out-of-province students more. What do you think? | Radio Noon Quebec with Shawn Appel | Live Radio | CBC Listen
QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge joins Radio Noon Quebec’s Shawn Appel to speak about the recently-announced plan by the Quebec government to double tuition fees for out-of-province students attending English-language universities.
Chris Selley: Quebec’s war on English-language universities is pure civic vandalism
Quebec’s francophone universities are struggling, with the lowest tuition for in-province students in the country — but it’s easier to blame outsiders

Quebec to nearly double tuition fees for out-of-province students at English universities
(CTV) Tuition fees for some non-Quebec university students are set to nearly double next year as the provincial government clamps down on English-speaking newcomers.
The cost of studying at an English university will increase from about $9,000 to $17,000 per year beginning in the fall of 2024 for out-of-province and international students, Quebec’s Minister of Higher Education Pascale Déry officially announced Friday.
She says the cost is equivalent to what their education costs the Quebec government.
International students will have to pay a minimum of $20,000.
The reason: the ruling Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party argues it wants to protect the French language, particularly in Montreal, by making it more expensive for the large number of students who the government believes come to Quebec to study in English only to leave after graduating.
The measure is part of the Quebec government’s action plan to reverse the decline of the use of French.
“Further significant steps” toward this goal are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, Quebec’s French language minister Jean-François Roberge said.

Kyle Matthews comments:
Looks like I might be searching for a new job, after hosting a major global conference in Montreal this week. The Government of Quebec chose Friday the 13th to announce it would be putting in place discriminatory policies that will more or less economically cripple the province’s three English speaking universities (McGill, my employer Concordia, and Bishops). Shameful.
Quebec announces it will nearly double university tuition fees for out-of-province students
La nouvelle tarification imposée par Québec aux étudiants de l’extérieur de la province choque les milieux universitaires anglophones, qui s’attendent à perdre des étudiants et beaucoup d’argent.
Les universités anglophones sous le choc
« C’est certain qu’il y aura un effet très négatif du point de vue financier pour les trois universités anglophones », a affirmé le recteur et vice-chancelier de l’Université Concordia, Graham Carr, en entrevue avec La Presse.
Quebec to double tuition fees for out-of-province students attending English universities
‘They’re sending out signals… that effectively students from the rest of Canada who are not francophone are not particularly welcome’
Via social media, Premier François Legault said the change represents “one more gesture to reverse the decline of French in Quebec.”
The plan, announced Friday by French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge and Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry, is expected to cost Quebec’s three English universities tens of millions of dollars per year.
… enrolment will inevitably drop at English universities, Déry said.
“We are increasing the tuition fees so there will be a drop at Concordia, Bishop’s (and) McGill, but obviously this is a choice that we’ve made” in order to boost funding of French universities and to protect French, she said.
Universities minister has had to defend herself on French language, Bill 21
In her previous life, Déry had been a spokesperson for Air Canada’s Montreal-based CEO, who was lambasted for not speaking French and saying he didn’t have time to learn the language of Quebec’s majority.
Last year, Déry not only ran for the CAQ, but she won her seat by a huge margin, and then immediately became a minister. Legault made her the first Jewish woman appointed to a Quebec cabinet.
Soon after leaving TVA in 2015, Déry had support from the Conservative Party of Canada establishment when she took her first stab at politics. But she lost the party’s nomination in Mount Royal riding in central Montreal to Robert Libman, who had previously been an Equality Party MNA and mayor of Côte-St-Luc. Undeterred, Déry ran for the Conservatives in Drummond, northeast of Montreal, placing fourth.
She went on to become the vice-president of communications at the Montreal Economic Institute, a conservative think-tank.
Between 2016 and 2022, Déry was a board member of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs–Québec (CIJA), according to her National Assembly biography. In 2019, that organization and many other groups representing religious minorities opposed Bill 21, the CAQ’s secularism legislation.

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