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Council adopts resolution supporting Quebec English universities and institutions of higher learning

Here is a resolution from CSL City Council supporting supporting Quebec English universities and institutions of higher learning. It was moved by Councillor Andee Shuster, who works in communications for McGill University.


Councillor Shuster reads the resolution.


Whereas the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal states as of 2023, McGill University and Concordia University’s out of province students contribute $520 million annually to the greater Montreal economy;

Whereas these two major English language universities have contributed to Quebec society through higher learning, research innovation, publications, and through their output of highly educated and skilled students, graduates, and alumni throughout their
history which dates back to 1821 in the case of McGill and 1974 in the case of Concordia;

Whereas these universities have achieved top rankings for education excellence bestowed by established Canadian and global organizations and media outlets, and that these reputations attract students from more than 150 countries;

Whereas 24% of Concordia’s enrollment and 30% of McGill’s enrollment is international students;

Whereas 9% of Concordia’s enrollment and 22% of McGill’s enrollment is Canadian students from outside of Quebec;

Whereas in December 2023, the Minister of Higher Education (the “Minister”) Quebec Government imposed a plan exclusively for these two English-language universities that (a) significantly increases the tuition rate applicable to Canadian residents from outside Quebec, as of the 2024-2025 academic year; (b) regulates tuition fees for certain international students that results in a net loss of revenue as of the 2024-2025 academic year ; and (c) requires the francization of 80% of non-resident students (newly enrolled as of 2025-2026) in undergraduate programs taught in English by the time they graduate
(the “Decision”);

Whereas this Decision was followed by the adoption in January 2024 of a series of modifications to the budgetary rules to be applied to the Universities entitled Règles budgétaires et calcul des subventions de fonctionnement aux universités du Québec (les« Règles budgétaires ») which put this Decision into effect;

Whereas despite protests and attempts for negotiations from the universities and other organizations, the Quebec Government has refused to reconsider the Decision;

Whereas since the new reforms were announced, Concordia has seen a 27 percent decline in applicants from the rest of Canada and a 12 percent decline in the number of students coming from abroad, McGill announced a 20 percent drop in out-of-province applicants;

Whereas the Quebec Government rejected reasonable francization proposals from the universities and instead imposed requirements which are viewed by the universities as unreasonable, unachievable, and punitive;

Whereas the measures taken by the Quebec Government represent a clear and present danger to the missions of Concordia and McGill universities and will weaken their vital role within the province and their reputations as international draws;

Whereas the reduction in students applying and attending Concordia and McGill universities will lead to budget cuts that will negatively impact the education of local students from Quebec as well as students from out of province in addition to impacting
employment for academic and non-academic staff from the Greater Montreal area;

Whereas reductions in the number of out-of-province students attending Quebec universities will lead to reduction in tax revenue for all three levels of government and a decrease in the number of well-educated professionals, hurting the economic and social
development of the Island of Montreal and Province of Quebec;

Whereas the Decision was made in clear violation and in total disregard of the recommendations issued in January 2024, by the Advisory Committee on Financial Accessibility of Education (Comité consultatif sur l’accessibilité financière aux études, hereafter “CCAFE”), an advisory committee appointed by the government, composed of representatives of government and French-language universities and Cégeps, who have stated that the new regulations risk compromising access to quality education and depriving Quebec society of potential talent;

Whereas on or about February 23rd, 2024, McGill and Concordia Universities both filed separate legal proceedings in judicial review contesting and challenging the Decision of
the Minister of Higher Education and the modifications to the Budgetary rules;

Whereas, as per the court filings, the Universities submit that these measures from the Quebec Government:
• Constitute discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as
well as the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms,
• Were an unreasonable exercise of the powers of the Minister of Higher Education,
since they were incompatible with the mission assigned to her by the Ministry of
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Act,
• Were adopted following inadequate and an unfair process,
• Constitute a disguised and illegal tax, which is being imposed without the authorization of the National Assembly,
• Create unconstitutional barriers to interprovincial trade thereby limiting student mobility, choice of university, and access to education,
• Limit the diversity of the student body at these universities by creating barriers for international students,
• Were designed to inflict harm on the institutions by reducing the number of students attending the universities, changing the demographic profiles, shrinking the revenues and weakening their financial positions.

Whereas these actions by the Quebec Government could lead to retaliatory actions by other provinces in Canada limiting the options available for Quebec students to study at universities throughout Canada;

Whereas the residents of Cote Saint-Luc value higher education and have a high level of level of scholarity with nearly 60% residents having some university education and 55% of residents achieving at least one university degree (according to the 2021 census);

Whereas Cote Saint-Luc's population is comprised of alumni, academics, scholars, and current students who take pride in the high standards and reputation of these universities;

Whereas the inevitable decline in the universities’ standing will prompt an exodus of our youth to pursue their degrees elsewhere, which will have a deep negative impact on our community;

It was moved “THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Government of Quebec to reconsider the Decision and reverse the tuition increases and new tuition regulations and revise the compulsory francization
requirements to a more realistic attainable level;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Government of Quebec to follow the recommendations of its own Comité consultatif sur l'accessibilité financière aux études, which Committee “strongly urges the
government to reconsider this decision;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council calls on the Minister of Higher Education and the Premier of Quebec to meet with representatives of the English universities and English-speaking community to renegotiate these changes which have been unfairly imposed and are not respectful of the English-speaking community of Quebec;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council directs its City Clerk to send copies of this resolution to all of members of the National Assembly of Quebec including the Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee, to all other municipalities in the Montreal Metropolitan Community, to the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, to the Prime Minister of Canada, to the federal Minister of Official Languages, to the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, to the Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ), to the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM), to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to the Presidents of Concordia and McGill’s Universities and to the members of the Quebec Advisory Board on English Education.”

I also added that the Canadian Party of Quebec should receive the resolution as well for they are indeed speaking out loudly for our community.

It was carried unanimously.


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