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Pana Merchant

The Hon. Pana  Merchant, B.A. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Pana Merchant represents the province of Saskatchewan and the Senatorial Division of Saskatchewan. She has served in the Senate of Canada since December 12, 2002.

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The Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology tables its report on Post-Secondary Education in Canada

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Posted on 04 April 2012

Ottawa, April 4, 2012 – With the Senate’s last report on post-secondary education (PSE) published in 1997, the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, believed the time was right to take another look at the accessibility of PSE in Canada. Entitled Opening the Door: Reducing Barriers to Post-Secondary Education in Canada, the report looks at both the financial and non-financial factors of PSE.

The committee called on economists, statisticians, analysts and researchers to identify barriers to PSE. After reviewing the most recent research, the committee extended its study to include stakeholders such as student associations, groups representing post-secondary institutions and people working to improve the accessibility of PSE for under-represented groups.

“While much of the public debate on access to PSE revolves around the cost of tuition, it is clear that the major barrier to accessing PSE is failure to complete Secondary education,” said the Honourable Kelvin K. Ogilvie, Chair of the committee. “Another critical area involves issues associated with under-represented groups including the under participation of males. The report deals with a range of financial issues and important factors at the PSE level itself.”

“Our economic prosperity is dependent upon having a highly educated and skilled work force that can meet the requirements of a knowledge-based economy,” said the Honourable Art Eggleton, the committee’s Deputy Chair. “To achieve this we must have a pan-Canadian education strategy, whereby provincial, territorial and federal governments work together to ensure the best possible learning outcomes, including increased participation of under-represented groups in Post Secondary Education.”

The federal government is an important player in PSE but is mindful that education falls under provincial jurisdiction. For that reason, the report focused on the federal government’s involvement in PSE and how PSE can be made more accessible using the tools available to this level of government.

“Education and training is not a cost but rather an investment in Canadians and in the country,” said the Honourable Catherine Callbeck. “We must invest wisely and strategically in our human resources, in the skills and knowledge of our people. It is essential that our governments have plans and policies in place to help the country move forward.

To read the report and recommendations or learn more about the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, go to

The Senate of Canada is on Twitter: @SenateCA, follow the committee using the hashtag #SOCI

For more information please contact:

Media Relations:
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