High school students on Budget 2018: Confident about job prospects, but concerned with environment, education and income inequality
Canada’s high school students, the next generation of taxpayers have provided their insight and opinions on the major issues likely to feature in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third federal budget.
Some of this year’s notable results include that students believe that making education more affordable and accessible is key to their future success and overall economic well-being. The top issues they believe the government should focus on are healthcare, post-secondary education, the economy, and poverty and inequality. A majority also want a commitment to debt reduction. Overall, students seem to be increasingly positive about the future and job prospects.
For the fifth time, high school students from across the country participated in the Student Budget Consultation, a national initiative coordinated by CIVIX aimed at engaging youth in the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process.
More than 7,000 high school students, from more than 450 schools throughout the country, took part in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation.
Major points of interest include:
- Environmental protection a key priority – For the second year in a row, 60 per cent of students believe that protecting the environment is a major national priority and that funding in this area should be increased.
- Increase education and healthcare transfers – Approximately half of students believe that the government should increase funding for education, health care and support for women and youth. Meanwhile, only 15 per cent of students want more investment in arts and culture.
- Ranking major issues – When asked to rank the issues the government should focus on, students selected health care, the environment, and the economy as their top three concerns.
- Students confident in their job prospects – 92 per cent of students are confident that they will be able to find jobs which interest them, after graduation.
- Youth unemployment a concern – 59 per cent of students believe there is a youth unemployment problem in Canada; however, this percentage is noticeably smaller than it was in last year’s survey, when 68 per cent of students believed youth unemployment to be problematic.
- Upward mobility is possible – 72 per cent of students believe that, with hard work, upward mobility is achievable in Canadian society today.
- Affordability of post-secondary education – The bulk of students (39 per cent) believe that making post-secondary education more affordable is the most important step that the government could take to assist families.
- Carbon pricing – Students are increasingly in favour of federal carbon pricing (45 per cent) but a sizeable portion is still reluctant to take a position on the issue (37 per cent).
- Income inequality a concern – More than half of students believe that income inequality is a problem in Canada and that wealthy individuals, and to a lesser extent corporations, should be taxed at higher rates than they currently are.
To view an infographic of the results highlights, click here.
To view the complete results report, click here.
To view a map of participating schools, click here.
About the Student Budget Consultation
The Student Budget Consultation provides youth with an opportunity to learn about the government’s revenues and expenditures, discuss important political issues and suggested policies, and offer their insights on the priorities of the federal budget. The opinions of students are collected through a survey and the results are shared with the federal Department of Finance.
The 2018 Student Budget Consultation was organized by CIVIX with the support of the Government of Canada.
The 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey was conducted in partnership with Vox Pop Labs between November 2017 and February 2018.
About the Organization
CIVIX is a national registered charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. CIVIX provides experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and connect with their democratic institutions.
Student Vote, the flagship program of CIVIX, is a parallel election for students under the voting age, which coincides with official elections. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 elementary and secondary students cast a Student Vote ballot from approximately half of all schools in Canada.