The hon. member for Peterborough is a professor at Trent University.
The University of Waterloo has pioneered co-op education in Canada and has done so so successfully that it far out-ranks Trent University in the rankings every year in Maclean's . The member for Port Moody-Coquitlam went through this co-op program, one which I know very well because I taught there for 20 years myself. In that co-op program she benefited enormously from the support of the government. That co-op program, which is being copied by many universities throughout Canada, is an excellent example of what business, government and educators can do together.
The initial idea for the program came from the business community in the area as did the idea for the university. The business people came to educators and said: "Let us work together to make sure that the transition from the educational place to the work place is made easier, that students have work experience and they can carry that experience further".
The result has been a much higher degree of success in getting jobs on the part of graduates. There has been a lot of satisfaction, as the hon. member herself said. The program has worked very effectively. It is a program that worked not because of private initiative, but because a government worked with business and educators to create a coherent system of training and education.
In the Waterloo area, the example of the University of Waterloo has been followed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier University and also by our secondary school boards, particularly the Waterloo Catholic Board of Education. I have worked with that board myself in working out training programs for students to enable them to move from the high schools and universities into the work place. Students who are within those programs and who
have a more direct experience in the work place find the transition to higher education and to work much easier.
The difficulty we find is that so many training programs are just not working in the way we had hoped. That is why we are calling for a restructuring. This is most relevant of course to any discussion on human resources development.
In a recent study done by the Canadian Guidance and Counselling Foundation, 73.9 per cent of the community employment agencies, 72.4 per cent of Canada employment centres and 45.2 per cent of counselling services in colleges and CEGEPs report that they turn clients away because they do not meet funding criteria. This is simply not good enough. The costs are high.
The human costs of not watching what happens with training at the lowest level, at the intermediate level and at the post-secondary level are very high for our society.
As an educator, I personally feel-and the hon. member for St. Boniface has written some excellent pieces on this subject-that we need to restructure our training programs in the broadest possible way. I would echo the thoughts of the member for St. Boniface in suggesting that we all share these problems together. Training and education in this country is very costly. When we compare the international rate of spending on education we find that Canada, a very wealthy nation, spends a percentage of GNP that is higher than almost any other nation. If we are not the highest we are certainly close to it. All of us are aware that we could spend this much better.
Our responsibility as members of this House, of all parties, is to work together to improve this very crucial sector of Canadian society. In doing so we will start to recreate that sense of initiative among younger people and that sense of purpose that is so lacking now.
I think we can work together and we would achieve so much for this great country if we would do so.