Media releases | January 19, 2021

EDMONTON - A coalition of organizations representing more than 154,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 11,000 faculty and instructors, and 13,000 support staff in Alberta’s post-secondary education system has launched a new campaign at, headlined by the slogan “working conditions are learning conditions.” The campaign aims to raise Albertans’ awareness of the negative impacts of the significant cuts the provincial government has made over the past two years to post-secondary education and pressure politicians to change direction.

“Funding cuts to post-secondary education inevitably hurt students,” commented Rowan Ley, Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students. “These cuts have limited access to libraries, academic journals, and even professor and departmental offices. Cuts ripple through the institution until it reaches the students, limiting their ability to learn and succeed.”

The campaign highlights how important post-secondary institutions are to the local economies of the communities in which they are located, both large and small.

“An educated workforce is integral to Alberta’s economic recovery post-pandemic,” said Justin Huseby, Chair of AUPE Local 52 (University of Calgary Support Staff). “Strong economies have strong post secondary sectors, and by not investing in Alberta post-secondary education and research, the government is not investing in Alberta’s communities. Ensuring Albertans have access to a relevant, affordable, and robust post-secondary education is not a luxury, but rather a necessity. Support staff play a vital role in a student’s post-secondary journey, and decimating these important workers has significantly impacted the successful delivery of this essential service and Alberta’s economic recovery. Ultimately, it will be Alberta’s students and our communities that will suffer.”

The campaign also puts focus on the critical role post-secondary education plays in building a strong economy for the future of Alberta.

"A strong post-secondary education system is vital for the future of Alberta and its economy,” said Dr. Kevin Kane, president of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) and Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Alberta. “Universities and colleges not only train the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow, but we also drive innovation and economic diversification through our research. The government's drastic cuts to post-secondary place our economy in peril – not only today but with consequences far into the future."

The campaign includes ad placements on social media, on digital billboards, and public transit systems, and in local newspapers across Alberta, and the many organizations supporting the campaign are also engaging their members across the province in its activities.

“The post-secondary sector, including students, faculty, and support staff, is united in its call for the government to re-evaluate its priorities and reverse the cuts,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “This campaign is bringing a conversation to Albertans that our government has been unwilling to have – a conversation about the critical roles our universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutes have in creating strong local economies and preparing our province for the future.”