2018 Student Budget Consultation Results

February 26th, 2018 by Dan Allan

High school students on Budget 2018: Confident about job prospects, but concerned with environment, education and income inequality

Canada’s high school students, the next generation of taxpayers have provided their insight and opinions on the major issues likely to feature in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third federal budget.

Some of this year’s notable results include that students believe that making education more affordable and accessible is key to their future success and overall economic well-being. The top issues they believe the government should focus on are healthcare, post-secondary education, the economy, and poverty and inequality. A majority also want a commitment to debt reduction. Overall, students seem to be increasingly positive about the future and job prospects.

For the fifth time, high school students from across the country participated in the Student Budget Consultation, a national initiative coordinated by CIVIX aimed at engaging youth in the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process.

More than 7,000 high school students, from more than 450 schools throughout the country, took part in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation.

Major points of interest include:

  • Environmental protection a key priority – For the second year in a row, 60 per cent of students believe that protecting the environment is a major national priority and that funding in this area should be increased.
  • Increase education and healthcare transfers – Approximately half of students believe that the government should increase funding for education, health care and support for women and youth. Meanwhile, only 15 per cent of students want more investment in arts and culture.
  • Ranking major issues – When asked to rank the issues the government should focus on, students selected health care, the environment, and the economy as their top three concerns.
  • Students confident in their job prospects – 92 per cent of students are confident that they will be able to find jobs which interest them, after graduation.
  • Youth unemployment a concern – 59 per cent of students believe there is a youth unemployment problem in Canada; however, this percentage is noticeably smaller than it was in last year’s survey, when 68 per cent of students believed youth unemployment to be problematic.
  • Upward mobility is possible – 72 per cent of students believe that, with hard work, upward mobility is achievable in Canadian society today.
  • Affordability of post-secondary education – The bulk of students (39 per cent) believe that making post-secondary education more affordable is the most important step that the government could take to assist families.
  • Carbon pricing – Students are increasingly in favour of federal carbon pricing (45 per cent) but a sizeable portion is still reluctant to take a position on the issue (37 per cent).
  • Income inequality a concern – More than half of students believe that income inequality is a problem in Canada and that wealthy individuals, and to a lesser extent corporations, should be taxed at higher rates than they currently are.

To view an infographic of the results highlights, click here.

To view the complete results report, click here.

To view a map of participating schools, click here.

About the Student Budget Consultation

The Student Budget Consultation provides youth with an opportunity to learn about the government’s revenues and expenditures, discuss important political issues and suggested policies, and offer their insights on the priorities of the federal budget. The opinions of students are collected through a survey and the results are shared with the federal Department of Finance.

The 2018 Student Budget Consultation was organized by CIVIX with the support of the Government of Canada.

The 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey was conducted in partnership with Vox Pop Labs between November 2017 and February 2018.

About the Organization

CIVIX is a national registered charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. CIVIX provides experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and connect with their democratic institutions.

Student Vote, the flagship program of CIVIX, is a parallel election for students under the voting age, which coincides with official elections. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 elementary and secondary students cast a Student Vote ballot from approximately half of all schools in Canada.

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Student Budget Consultation 2018: Youth Voices

February 22nd, 2018 by Dan Allan

The Student Budget Consultation is a civic-education and financial-literacy program for high-school students across Canada. The process gives young people an opportunity to learn about government and current affairs, debate varying viewpoints about public policy, and offer their own opinions on the priorities of the federal budget.

Since November 2017, more than 7,000 young Canadians have participated in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey. Results have come from more than 450 schools throughout the country, representing every province and territory. A preliminary report on student opinions was shared with the Department of Finance in December 2017, and a final report will be shared by CIVIX upon the conclusion of the project.

New to this year’s project, CIVIX invited youth representatives to share their views on issues that matter to them, and explain how they could be addressed in Budget 2018. These include issues such as debt, mental health, the environment, women’s representation in government and Indigenous rights.

We also invited student participants to share their own views on important issues through audio or video clips, and we received some great responses. Excerpts are available below:


Catharine Laflamme (Grade 11 student)

“I think one of the first issues we should be looking at is tax savings and dealing with the top one per cent avoiding paying their taxes. We cannot balance the budget if we’re not getting the proper income from taxes first. Everyone should have an equal opportunity and be paying their fair share.

“Next, the federal government needs to look at how they’re spending Canadians’ hard-earned tax dollars. Instead of looking at short-term solutions, such as funding the oil and gas sector, we should be looking at long-term solutions to benefit the future generations, such as renewable energy and resources. Canada should be working on lessening the heavy financial and environmental weight we are leaving for our children.

“Finally, Canada needs to make sure the middle and lower-class citizens are being heard. All politicians at every level should be approachable and accessible even to the Canadian citizens who have to work 12 hours a day to support their family.

“There are many ways to get citizens involved, such as open houses, public hearings, delegations, public planning sessions and more. When the federal government starts opening up to public opinion, that’s when we will start to get more diverse budgetary solutions.”


Shelby Dirksen and Ashley Williams (Grade 11 students)

“We want the student budget to focus on the environment because we are dependent on the environment and the resources it provides.

“Without the environment, the economy will drastically decline and people will be left without jobs. We want the government to focus their funds on certain issues like pollution, the destruction of habitat and most importantly climate change.

“Climate change is a growing issue and by not putting the environment first we’re endangering all of our lives. The environment hasn’t always been first priority so this year we need to make it one and find a way to save our homes and cut back on our waste.

“We are all capable in contributing to this issue. We’re the ones that started it so we need to end it.”


Joey Gilderdale (Grade 11 student)

“Canada’s federal budget should be equally spent amongst all needs, wants and priorities that Canadians have and things our country needs as a whole.

“The upcoming federal budget, I feel, needs to include a wildfire fund. In the past 2-3 years we’ve had horrible wildfires in Alberta, and then in 2017 all amongst B.C.

“Wildfires are becoming more common during our summer months. These wildfires can happen anywhere and the budget should not only cover money to help train people to help deal with fires, but it should give people basic fire-prevention tips and emergency gear, training for firefighters, police forces, the Canadian armed forces and paramedics.

“Support should be given to those affected by wildfires and to help with future problems of wildfires. The budget should include enough money to train those mentioned and fund firefighting and fire prevention, and emergency situations.”


Logan Huband (Grade 11 student)

“The environment is one of the most important areas that the budget should support greatly. Creating new ways to reduce waste, and making clean renewable energy the norm, should be a top priority. Because at the end of the day, the budget won’t matter if you don’t have a planet to use it on.

“Secondly, post-secondary education should be made more affordable to increase accessibility to lower economic classes. This is also a key priority to ensure the future stays strong with well-educated people.

“Lastly, affordable housing should be invested in to grow the economy as well as grow cities and the population as a whole.”


Looking for more of what Canadian high-school students want to see in the upcoming federal budget? CIVIX will be releasing the 2018 Student Budget Consultation results next week! Results from previous years are available here.

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