Tag Archives: Education

Is Education Free in Canada? NO!!!!

Not in Alberta! Maybe I am overreacting … Maybe I am not …

When I realized (in January) that despite my best efforts I still did not have a job and could not afford to pay Kyia’s school fees, which I had been putting of in the hopes that I would find a job and be able to pay them, I requested a “Fee Waiver” from The Calgary Board of Education (CBE). This was VERY hard for me. Between my pride and my anxiety, it made me cry that I had to “ask for help”.HighFees But there is no possible way for me to afford the nearly $400 they want for school fees. YES you read that right. $400 fucking dollars per year (PLUS the hundreds they want you to pay for field trips, and additional school activities throughout the year) for a “FREE” education. I understand that some SMALL fees (Small=$25-$50 MAX) may be acceptable but $400+ is just outrageous!! This is Canada for fuck sake. How in the fuck does CBE justify approx $400 they say noon super vision, transportation, school supplies etc….
1. My child does not get supervised at noon!! She is in grade 8 and leaves the school grounds most days. And seriously!! These pussy-ass fucking teachers who BARELY even teach kids any more can’t SHARE lunch supervision?? I respect teachers, don’t get me wrong…well I used to…but these days it seems the teachers need to be coddled and babied. They don’t teach our children the things they need. They baby them by “passing” everyone. They rarely discipline (I don’t mean straps, just detention or even a goddamn scolding!). And they cut out essential core studies … like Cursive and multiplication tables!!! The teachers need to “man-the-fuck-up” and TEACH our kids! …oh I am going off topic … The teachers are paid for their day in their salaries … They should NOT get extra to monitor lunch hours. This should simply be mandatory shared tasks INCLUDED IN THEIR FUCKING JOB!!!!
2. Transportation … I cannot bitch much about this one really… Because we live in a different school zone, my daughter does not take school buses. We chose to not send her to the school in our zone so I am not “charged” this (additional $335) fee and I buy her a monthly transit pass to get to school. However … I believe the rate for school bus transit is a bit much … I have not fully researched all of the other provinces, but I do KNOW that the majority of the provinces do not have this fee!! (Or ANY of these overpriced fees!)
3. School supplies … Oh this one makes my blood boil!! I BUY HER SCHOOL SUPPLIES!! The BUDGET Buys teacher supplies. What the actual fuck is this bullshit!! I go out and spend $100 ish dollars on the LIST that the CBE gives out for instructional supplies and then they try to charge me (Approx $150)for more!! You don’t pay … they THREATEN YOU!!! New Brunswick School fees $25 and buy your own school supplies OR $35 School supplies INCLUDED (NO transportation fee, NO supervision fee, NO Bullshit!!). If you don’t pay, you don’t get threatened, you just don’t get the school planner. FUCK YOU CBE!!! FUCK YOU!!! Greedy fucking dickface CBE!! Again, FUCK YOU!

Alberta Canada -Education

Anyhoo, Back to the “Fee Waiver”, I was apparently never approved…Yesterday I received an email from the CBE basically threatening me. Pay or we will send you to collections!! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!! I sent an email stating that I applied for fee waiver months ago…ATTACHING the original email and including a snippit from their webpage showing that I had applied. The message they sent back was that I need a “Child Health Benefits card”. Um. No. No I fucking don’t! I am not going to the goddamned government begging for fucking anything. It is bad enough that I am back on the dreadful EI. I will not go to them for ANYTHING (unless absolutely necessary… like EI because work is scarce and I need fricking money…also I paid into that shit). So I told them that (in a nicer way) I simply said, “I do not need nor want a benefits card. You have my financial information. That is all you need. They came back with basically a too bad, that is our policy. You have to go to Alberta Works and basically apply to be low-income and get that Child Health Benefits Card. Are you fucking kidding me!!! I lost it. I literally walked away from the computer and left my reply until this morning. Which was still kind of nasty…because I am still PISSED So Here is what I sent off:

“To whom it may concern,
I have submitted a fee waiver and have forwarded my EI income information already- MONTHS ago!! You threaten to send me to collections KNOWING that I can NOT afford to pay these fees. I am disgusted that you will NOT approve the fee waiver just because I am not on social assistance/Welfare?! I am on EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE! I have ALREADY stated this! I do NOT need nor want a health benefits card and there is NO reason that I should be forced to get some letter calling/labeling me “low-income” or forced to get this health card thing. YOU have my financial information!! Why do you want to embarrass, belittle and STRESS people and families by forcing them to announce to the world that they are poor? I have enough stress and anxiety in my life, I sure as heck do not need The Calgary School Board adding to it! I have shared my financial woes with you, yet you want me to go to a multitude of others announcing my struggles. This process is despicable. This process is WRONG. I have sent you the information and there is no reason for you to force me to embarrass and stress myself further. I am on EI. I make LESS than 2000 per month. My rent, bills and food expenses meet and sometimes exceed that amount. Last year I made under $40,000 and the ONLY reason it was that “high” is because I did work for 6 months of the year…but still technically below the poverty line! Unfortunately I was let go in early October, JUST after an emergency trip to NB (that I am STILL trying to pay off!) leaving me unemployed and BROKE. I expect The Calgary School Board (or ANY school board for that matter) to be a bit more respectful and understanding to people in these situations. When YOU are provided with sufficient financial information to approve a family for a fee waiver. JUST DO IT! Don’t send them to the government agencies. Don’t send them to the school. Don’t force this embarrassment onto them. And for God sake do NOT Threaten them!!! Just take that information and make the darn approval. We live in CANADA. Education is supposed to be FREE!!!! Maybe it is my pride talking or maybe it is my social anxiety, It does not matter, DO not force people into uncomfortable situations. Period. Now please look into this. Thank you.”

Too much? Should I be this Mad? Am I over-reacting? I don’t think so. Why? …

freeeducationEducation is MANDATORY in Canada. Education is a RIGHT in Canada. Education is FREE in Canada. FREE you fucking idiots. FREE. Not $400 dollars or we will send you to collections. FREE!

So Now I apparently have to go to the principal of my daughters school and beg them to approve the waiver “in house” …what a fucking hassle for this free education. Did I mention…






One of the greatest moments of my life was receiving the news that I graduated and received a diploma in my technology discipline. I did not graduate high school So receiving this diploma and walking across the stage meant the world to me. I still get teary eyed thinking about it.

Why did I not graduate high school? Well, 6 BIG moves to 4 different cities (with umpteen moves within each city) in 4 provinces and 8 different high schools in 5 years. I gave up. My Mother moved us to BC, then shipped me off to Ontario, I split to NB, back to BC, shipped off to NS then back to NB. I was 19 still in grade 10 because I didn’t finish a single year. 1 day I was sitting in a class and just completely gave up. I thought to myself “I am too old for this shit” and I walked out. I never went back. FYI … I was 19 with an attitude, to me, at that time, I was too old for that shit. A couple years later I wrote my GED and received my diploma for that. I did nothing to obtain the GED. No schooling, no studying, nothing. I just wrote it. The lack of work put into achieving the GED made it just a piece of paper that could help me get a job. I got a job, and then another, and then another. Always crappy meaningless minimum wage jobs. Retail, Call centres, Home care. Jobs that bored me and I despised.

After the birth of Kyia, I decided enough is enough, I will not raise my daughter on welfare nor will I raise her while I work my ass off at a menial minimum wage job, “I am too smart for this shit”. I want to be able to support my daughter. I want to be able to provide her with more than just the bare necessities. I want her to never go without, as I had my entire life. I was raised on welfare. I had nothing. If it wasn’t supplied by a charity or a sponsor of some sort, I didn’t get it. New clothes were scarce, they were almost always second hand from a free store of some sort. This was NOT going to happen to my daughter.

I started my schooling trek in 2004 with many trips to school counsellors and career counsellors. I knew I wanted to do something technical and I had it narrowed down to about 5 courses. However, no matter which of the courses I chose, a GED was not good enough. I needed a lot of math and science as prerequisites to any and all of the courses I wanted.

So after deciding on my course I enrolled in upgrading classes, these were basically high school classes for adults. One and a half years of upgrading, all the Maths and Sciences I could handle, with an English class thrown in for good measure. I loved it. I made some great friends and learned a lot. I aced everything and was at the top of most of my classes. (Biology and I did not mix well, but I still pulled a B out of that one). By the end I was ready for my course.

I started my course, and on day one I was already lost. The instructors came in, guns blazing. They started talking as though we already knew what they were saying… I didn’t! I remember going home after that first day and crying myself to sleep convinced that taking this course was the biggest mistake I had ever made. In fact, I cried myself to sleep most nights throughout the length of this course. I spent weeks (months even, possibly the length of the entire course) trying to catch up and keep up. 5 years later, I still feel like I need to catch up. This course was so difficult that usually over 50% of the students drop out before the end. My class started with 28 of us and ended with 9. I hear that 1 graduating class hit 23 … but I bet that is a myth. lol

We had an instructor who was convinced that if you did not have a photographic memory, you should not be in this class. We had an instructor who never showed up for class (by never, I mean once every other week to give us an assignment or test), he was eventually replaced … by a hippy. We had an instructor who was pretty much a hippy, hippy van and all! We had an instructor who … well let us just say, English was his third language, his classes were usually the toughest, and because of this he was not very liked. We had an instructor who was also a pilot. We had an instructor who basically gave us all the answers. We had an instructor who looked like a turtle. But, with the exception of the “never showed up for class” instructor, each of these teachers had one thing in common. They helped. If a student made the effort to go to them for extra help, they gave it, and they gave it their all. I am not going to get into every tiny detail about every semester and every class but I will sum it up like this. I studied, I struggled, I failed tests (I had never failed a test in my life until I took this course), I stressed, I cried, I missed classes due to a sick child, I stayed up all night studying, more often than not, I fought, I worried, I screamed, I wanted to quit, I wanted to give up. I pushed, and pushed and pushed, literally to (and beyond) my breaking point.

I was accepted into the course I chose, but how was I to pay? I was on Employment Insurance and although they agreed to pay for half, I was a single mother on EI and I refused to get a student loan. I applied for every scholarship I could and managed to score a full year scholarship for my first year! YEAH! I did Manage to scrape by without a bit of debt. Between the assistance of family (some who looked after Kyia so I didn’t have to pay child care), friends (1 in particular who bought my tools that were required for the course, and others who assisted with the babysitting), and scholarships (I managed to get scholarships for all but 1 semester, my last semester, which I had to pay out of pocket) I graduated with no loan to pay back.

Obviously not my actual Diploma
Obviously not my actual Diploma

The 4 years I spent in college (approx 1 year in co-op job placement and I took approx 1 year off) were the hardest, most stressful, most exhausting years of my entire life (well to date anyway).

I would not change it for anything. These struggles made me see life in a whole new dimension. I learned a lot more than what I was taught in classes. I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I learned that I really can do whatever I set my mind to. I learned that failing every now and again is a necessity in life. I learned that if you want something you need to work hard and fight to get it. The best things in life are not handed to you on a silver platter, you need to earn them.

Working, Studying and raising a child (toddler) on your own is the most difficult task anyone could do, and I did it. I have a diploma in a field I enjoy and am working (partially) in that area. It took me years to get where I am and it will take me many more to get where I am going … wherever that may be.