Ontario shouldn’t outsource public education to McDonald’s

 Do we really want our future business leaders taking Ethics 101 from the Hamburglar?” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Toronto (29 August 2016) — A new deal between Colleges Ontario and McDonald’s threatens the quality of business education in Ontario, and sets a chilling precedent for outsourcing public education to private corporations.

College students will now get a McDonald's degree

“Sadly, the biggest losers in all of this are the students,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). “They are the ones whose degrees will be cheapened in the eyes of employers, and the ones who will miss out on the high-quality education delivered by faculty members at our public colleges."

“But this is dangerous for the wider public too," Thomas said. "We place our faith in our public education system to prepare tomorrow’s leaders for their responsibilities. Do we really want our future business leaders taking Ethics 101 from the Hamburglar?”

Deal allows McDonald's workers to skip first year of business diploma

The deal announced this week will let McDonald’s employees who have taken in-house training programs go directly into the final year of a 2-year business diploma. As a result, students will only receive half of their education from the college their diploma is from.

This raises serious concerns for those responsible for educating students. “This hands control of a significant number of college credits over to a private corporation with questionable business practices, including tax-avoidance schemes, anti-union tactics, and a reliance on a precarious low-wage workforce,” noted RM Kennedy, Chair of OPSEU’s College Academic Workers Divisional Executive. “It removes those courses from the oversight of the academics at each college who are trained to properly assess the knowledge and skills needed for the certification. It lets McDonald’s, rather than our colleges, decide what business leaders should know.”

Ontario colleges have the lowest per-student funding in Canada

“Deb Matthews, as Minister of Advanced Education, should be ashamed to have put her support behind this attack on our public education system,” added Thomas. “Our public colleges have the lowest per-student funding in Canada. Colleges need the provincial government to invest in them, not outsource their work.

“The next generation deserves better than the McJobs and McDegrees this misguided scheme offers.”


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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