HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ON BUDGET 2019: CONFIDENT ABOUT JOB PROSPECTS, BUT CONCERNED WITH EDUCATION, THE ENVIRONMENT AND POVERTY
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 fourth federal budget.
Notably, the top issues students believe the government should focus on are education, the environment, poverty, crime and gun control, and fiscal responsibility. Students believe that making post-secondary education more affordable and accessible is key to their future success and economic well-being. At the same time, a majority want the federal government to commit to debt reduction. Although students are split on whether the financial situations of their families have improved since the election of the Liberal government in 2015, students are increasingly positive about their future and job prospects.
For the sixth 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 8,000 high school students, from more than 550 schools throughout the country, took part in the 2019 Student Budget Consultation.
On Budget Day (March 19), a group of participating students will attend the Budget Speech in the House of Commons gallery as special guests of the Minister of Finance.
Major points of interest include:
- Ranking major issues – When asked to rank the issues the federal government should focus on, students selected education, the environment and poverty as their top three concerns.
- Current and Future Outlooks – Students are unsure of whether their families’ financial situations have improved over the last 3 years, but they are overwhelmingly confident in their own future job prospects.
- The environment – There is clear support for protecting the environment, but students are somewhat divided on government funding for the oil and gas industry and are neutral on the issue of a federally imposed carbon tax.
- Education – Students believe that the best ways for the government to help families and youth are by making post-secondary education more affordable and by managing student debt.
- Taxation – Students believe that wealthy people have a greater financial obligation than everyone else to help those in need. However, students are divided when it comes to raising the corporate tax rate and do not support high-income tax rates that exceed 25 per cent.
- Fiscal responsibility – Students want the government to lower taxes, even if this means less government services. They also believe that the government should do more to address tax evasion.
- The media – Half of students are neutral to government support for struggling private media companies. Half of students reported that they get their news from social media and may therefore be less exposed to, or reliant on, traditional news media.
- Trade – Students are divided on what the main focus of Canada’s free trade agreements should be, but are opposed to trading with countries that have records of human rights abuse.
- Defence – Students are split on the issue of defence spending and do not consider national defence to be a high priority.
To view an info-graphic 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 and with all federal political parties so that they can see what matters to young Canadians in advance of the 2019 federal election.
The 2019 Student Budget Consultation was organized by CIVIX with the support of the Government of Canada.
The 2019 Student Budget Consultation survey was conducted in partnership with Vox Pop Labs between November 2018 and March 2019.
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. CIVIX will conduct a Student Vote program for the 2019 federal election.