A Comprehensive Access Strategy

All willing and qualified students in Ontario should be able to access and excel within Ontario’s post-secondary education system. Access, as a policy term, should have a singular meaning across Ontario that is separate from retention and persistence. The provincial government should reduce barriers to university access by developing and implementing a comprehensive access strategy. This strategy should holistically address all barriers to post-secondary education, ensuring equitable access to university for all Ontarians. 

While post-secondary participation in Ontario has increased steadily in recent decades, the Government of Canada has estimated that by 2024, 71 percent of new jobs will require some form of post-secondary education or training.[1] The province is well on its way to preparing its citizens for this future. In 2013, 60 percent of Ontario’s population had achieved a post-secondary credential—32 percent have graduated from university.[2] Ontario’s university attainment rate is highest in Canada. While just 13 percent of off-reserve Indigenous people have university degrees, this is still higher than the nation-wide attainment rate (only behind P.E.I, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia).[3]

[1] Employment and Social Development Canada, Canadian Occupational Projection System 2015 Projections: Job Openings 2015-2024 (Ottawa: Government of Canada), 24.

[2] Statistics Canada, “Table 477-0116 – Educational attainment of the population aged 25 to 64, off-reserve Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, and total population, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional (percent),” CANSIM database, accessed December 14, 2016.

[3] Ibid.