Moving the yardstick on public discussionMarco_munn_photo

by Marco Navarro-Genie, PhD

AIMS had a very productive month of June and it looks like July is shaping up to be just as good.

Our effort to contribute to the public discourse around the Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit was met with some resistance, but the fact remains we continue to be in the game. Whether it`s the subsidization of cherry-picked industries or drawing attention to special needs education, at AIMS` we are always looking for ways to stimulate discussion. For example, our work recently with Dr. Paul Bennett analysing a Tuition Support Program in New Brunswick resulted in wide media coverage across the province. The robust education of our youth is the cornerstone of a highly productive and socially responsible society.

When it comes to topics such as education, we are prepared to move the yardstick with credible, consistent and reliable data that speaks to the economic and social realities facing the Atlantic region and beyond. Over the next few months, AIMS will once again lead the way on topics such as defence procurement, healthcare, market-based bandwidth in rural Nova Scotia, electricity infrastructure, and of course, education.

Never in our region`s history has the promotion of market-based, free enterprise ideas been more important. Take the minimum wage issue as an example. You may think the idea of raising the minimum wage to $20.50 in Nova Scotia is a little far-fetched, but consider the traction the issue has gotten under the new NDP government in Alberta. It won’t be long before we’re having a national discussion and all provinces are affected. In fact, the Notely government has already committed to an increase from $10.20 to $15.00 over the next three years. The discussion started and it’s turning into action – we will need to be on top of this issue.

As July rolls into August, we hope you will consider attending our first-ever Chairman’s Dinner in Charlottetown, PEI (September 21) and Halifax, NS (September 22) with the Honourable John Manley, President & CEO, Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The theme of the event is Taking the Long View: Ensuring Canada’s Success in the 21st Century. This incredible networking opportunity will bring together many of our region’s top business minds from multiple industries to discuss relevant ideas shaping our future. You can register for the event by clicking on the image below.

Marco Navarro-Genie is President and CEO of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

Taking the Long View: Ensuring Canada’s Success in the 21st Century
September 21, 2015
Delta Prince Edward
Charlottetown, PEISeptember 22, 2015
Harbourfront Marriott
Halifax, NS

& Reception:


Individual :   $   150
Table of 10:  $ 1,350

Join the Honourable John Manley, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, as he discusses his vision for Canada in the 21st century, and what Canadians need to do to realize our country’s potential in the global economy.

With Q&A moderated by John Risley, AIMS Chairman of the Board.

Sponsorship Opportunites


Extending the Educational Lifeline: The Tuition Support Program and Its Benefits for Special Needs Students

AIMS was proud to release Extending the educational lifeline: The benefits of adopting Nova Scotia’s Tuition Support Program, authored by Dr. Paul Bennett, Director of Schoolhouse Consulting. Our work on this file has propelled effective reforms in Nova Scotia.

The study is the third special education-related paper released by Dr. Bennett for AIMS, and follows up on his February 2012 paper, A provincial lifeline: Expanding the Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program. The current paper is being directed at New Brunswick, a jurisdiction that does not have a Tuition Support Program in place. In June 2012, Dr. Bennett released a paper entitled, Building a Bigger Tent: Serving all special needs students better in New Brunswick’s inclusive education system.

AIMS Says Students With Learning Disabilities Need Financial Help (CBC)

Dr. Paul Bennett suggests that gap could be effectively bridged by private schools that specialize in teaching students with learning disabilities.

New Brunswick Can Help Students With Learning Disabilities, Says Report (Times & Transcript)

A new report calls on New Brunswick to adapt a Nova Scotian program that helps students with learning disabilities or certain behavioural disorders attend school at designated private facilities.

Special needs, tuition support: here and abroad

We often neglect to consider special needs education support in a policy framework that will have lasting effects on our children. Most provincial governments have policies in place to educate and train children with special needs and other recognized learning issues; however, access and timing are problems still plaguing many families. In a2013 report commissioned by the Ontario government, families raised concerns about early access, red tape and “wait and see” approaches that were leaving children behind.

Other international jurisdictions have defined policies to offer assistance. In the United States, there are private schools in every state. However, 24 states and the District of Columbia offer some type of private school choice program designed to increase access to private education for children. There are more than 340,000 studentsbenefiting from these programs.

The Gambia government has always committed itself to the provision of relevant and quality education for all its citizenry. This is manifested in the relentless effort by government in making education accessible to every child including disadvantaged groups such as the poor, people with disabilities and girls.

Education policies have been affecting all cadres of education in The Gambia including children with special needs. The Education Policy 2004 – 2015 unequivocally guarantees access to relevant and quality education to all Gambian children regardless of their location, gender, religion, ability, or disability conditions. The building of schools across the country, combined with large-scale teacher training and curriculum reforms in the school system, has gone a long way towards making the aims of Education for All a reality. These strategies have enabled the sector to register increments in enrolment rates at the lower basic level and transition into secondary schools which is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade.

Depending on the education provided and even the location, annual private school tuition can vary from about $6,000 a year to $30,000. In some provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta, private and independent schools receive provincial government funding. However, many provinces still do not offer tuition support.