73rd Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada


The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) concluded a two-day meeting in Toronto today.

Noting the significant reductions in federal funding for the Official Languages in Education Program over the past five years, the Ministers again called on the federal government to restore funding to the 1992-93 levels when the program is renewed on April 1. "Official- language programs in the schools are being threatened by the continued erosion in federal support," said the Honourable Paul Ramsey, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for British Columbia.

Ministers reviewed plans for the Third National Forum on Education to be held in St. John's, Newfoundland on May 28-30, 1998. Mr. Jacques Delors, President of UNESCO's International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, will deliver the keynote address at the Forum. As a lead-in to the Forum, CMEC will release the second Report on Education in Canada in early April. Transitions to life will be the focus of both the Forum and the Report.

Ministers also discussed the issue of violence in the schools. Noting that violence is a societal problem going far beyond schools, they agreed to exchange information on best practices to promote safe and caring schools.

In the area of postsecondary education, ministers restated the importance of restoring Canadian Health and Social Transfer (CHST) funding. Regarding funding to the granting councils, they stated that, given the cuts in transfer payments to the provinces and territories, it is now essential that Ottawa cover the indirect costs of sponsored research.

At the close of their meeting, ministers announced that they will meet with the Honourable Paul Martin, federal Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Human Resources Development, on March 26 to react to the announcements concerning education in the February 24 federal budget. "Close consultation with education ministers is essential if we are to make the most of resources and avoid needless duplication," said Mr. Ramsey. "My colleagues and I look forward to useful discussions with Mr. Martin and Mr. Pettigrew."


Lara Inglis, CMEC
Tel.: (416) 964-2551, ext. 256
E-Mail: lara@cmec.ca