CLI reaches 2 million viewers on crushing student debt


A Facebook meme about crushing student debt has generated a tidal wave of reaction that has the leaders of the Canadian Labour Institute for Social and Economic Fairness (CLI) feeling good about their work.

James Clancy, President of the Canadian Labour Institute for Social and Economic Fairness, a non-profit labour group devoted to expanding labour rights and promoting public services and a modern industrial strategy said, “We are grateful to our followers, most of whom are under 35, that know tuition fees and student debt are huge problems for them and their families. Graduating with crushing student debt is a tough start to work-life.”

The Facebook post has reached more than two million viewers and more than five-thousand have commented. The CLI team includes students that post to its social media streams.

“The reaction is another sign that Canadians deserve action and want to look at options like free education,” said Clancy, who pointed to countries including Germany and Sweden that offer free public post-secondary education.

Joseanne Job, chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Young Workers Committee, says it’s concerning that the cost of education continues to go up because it adds to the precarious position that young workers already find themselves in.

“Young people shouldn’t have to start their working lives in debt,” said Job. “Education is still used as a bar for gainful employment so it must be affordable in order for everyone to get a fair shot. If anyone is denied sufficient education, it affects the talent pool of people when looking to fill vacancies for jobs.”

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is pleased to see the CLI is generating so many clicks on an important issue.

“It is encouraging to see the CLI is gaining such a following,” said Thomas. “We don’t have enough progressive think-tanks in Canada and it’s important that there is a strong voice out there talking about things like affordable education.”

Thomas, who has five adult children and one grandson, said access to education is one of the most important issues that Canada must come to grips with in the coming years.

“I hope my grandkids will be able to afford the education to make their dreams a reality,” said Thomas. “The kind of reaction that the CLI is generating shows I’m not the only one who is thinking about this.”

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