Vol.6, #3 - A Report On The Double Cohort: Their Futures At Stake

Community Dispatch - An InfoFax of the Halton Social Planning Council & Volunteer Centre

February 2002

The Halton Social Planning Council is concerned about access and opportunity in education. The Council's demographic and social statistics on Halton's population demonstrate year after year the positive relationship of education to literacy, income, employment and quality of life. Government and business speak about the market's need for a highly trained labour force if Canada and Ontario are to be part of global economic development. However, the youth of our community face enormous challenges if not barriers in pursuing post-secondary education. There is no doubt that this is causing anxiety and stress in families and frustration and hopelessness in the youth of our community. Many of the voluntary sector agencies throughout Halton support families who will be confronted with the double cohort and access to post-secondary education. The Council shares with you the Executive Summary of A Report on the Double Cohort: Their Futures at Stake prepared by People for Education. This is a group of parents working to preserve fully publicly funded education in Ontario.


The secondary school reform announced by the Conservative government in 1997 replaced Ontario's five-year high school program with a four-year program. In 2003, the last class of the old five-year curriculum will graduate at the same time as the first class of the new four-year curriculum. At this time, the double class of graduates will be seeking placement for post-secondary education; the resulting swell in the student population will be spread over three years, but the most dramatic increase will be in 2003-04, which will create an unprecedented strain on Ontario's colleges and universities.

This Community Dispatch examines the preparedness of the Ontario government and post-secondary institutions for the double cohort students and assesses the adequacy of these accommodations.

Report Findings:

Some of the significant findings of this study are as follows:

Student Spaces

Class sizes

Admission Standards and Fair Evaluation

Tuition Fees

Operating Grants

Residence Beds

Capital Spending

Students graduating from secondary school in 2003 are just as qualified and willing as students graduating in any other year. These students deserve the same access to post-secondary education as Ontario students of equivalent ability in other years. They deserve a high level of quality in their post-secondary education. They deserve a student/faculty ratio that is not the worst in Canada. They deserve to be offered the same range of choice in programs to which they would have had access in another year. Inadequate education access and choice will unfairly limit their academic careers and their futures.


People for Education recommends:

  1. That the government commit to additional funding for 2003-04 through 2006-07, the years most affected by the double cohort, at levels that truly reflect the anticipated increase in student numbers caused by the double cohort. Thus, willing and qualified students unable to gain entrance in 2003-04 will have the opportunity in the following years.
  2. That the government's allocation of these funds be based on a flexible formula that ensures operating grants are paid on the basis of actual, not projected enrolments.
  3. That the additional operating grants designated for the double cohort be released by the government in a timely fashion so that institutions can begin the hiring process that will result in faculty being in place in 2003-04.
  4. That the government ensure the level of these operating grants be sufficient to decrease the student/faculty ratio to at least the national average.
  5. That the universities and colleges ensure that the percentage of residence spaces currently allocated to first-year students remain constant throughout the double cohort years.
  6. That the government, in co-operation with students and educators, ensure that a province-wide policy ensuring fair and equitable evaluation of the grades of both graduating classes is established by June of 2002.

For a copy of the full report contact People for Education, P.O. Box 64, Station P, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S6 or
e-mail: p4e@peopleforeducation.com

cd0603PDF: 188 k 

Produced by the Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N4
(905) 632-1975, (905) 878-0955; Fax: (905) 632-0778; E-mail: