Analysis finds that BC’s “record levels” of K-12 education funding are a fiction

August 24, 2016

(Vancouver) Contrary to provincial government claims that education funding is at “record levels”, new analysis released today finds that education funding has dropped by 25% since 2001 as a share of BC’s economy (GDP).

What’s the real story behind BC’s education funding crisis? by Alex Hemingway was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Not only has education funding dropped from 3.3% of GDP in 2001 to a projected 2.5% in Budget 2016, BC has the second lowest level of education funding in the country—nearly $1000 per student below the national average.

“The government’s numbers are misleading because they don’t take into account inflation or cost pressures from higher hydro and MSP rates, which are being downloaded onto school districts” says Hemingway.

“The government says this is about declining school enrolment, yet the funding crunch has hit school districts with growing enrolments as well as those seeing declines. And the government’s own data project an almost 40,000 student increase in enrolment by 2024.”

“Underfunding is a political choice,” says Hemingway. “If we dedicated the same share of our economy (GDP) to public education today as we did 15 years ago, we’d have nearly another $2 billion. That much additional funding might go beyond what’s necessary, but it tells us what’s possible. We certainly wouldn’t be facing school closures, overcrowded classrooms or cuts to vital programs and student supports.”

“BC could be investing in our youth, so that we build a solid economic and social foundation for our future. Instead, the provincial government is choosing to oversee cuts.”

“One-off funding announcements may make for good politics, but they’re no substitute for reliable funding that keeps pace with inflation and rising costs.”


For interviews, please contact Lindsey Bertrand, CCPA-BC Media and Publications Specialist, at lindsey[at]policyalternatives[dot]ca or 604-801-5121 x 238.

What's the real story behind BC’s education funding crisis? is available at

Introducing Alex Hemingway: As the CCPA-BC’s first Public Finance Policy Analyst, Alex Hemingway fills a research and engagement position that is highly responsive to current events. His work focuses on the state of BC’s public services, including education, health care, social programs and regulation. He also looks as the tax system and its relationship to inequality. Alex is readily available for to provide commentary and analysis to media.