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Government of Newfoundland and Labrador tops list of worst privateers in Canada

The winner of the Privatization Scam of the Year was announced at the NUPGE Triennial Convention in Ottawa. 

Certificate: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is the 2015 Scammie winner.

Ottawa (13 July 2016) — The votes are in, and we have a winner! Hundreds of votes were cast to see what privatization scheme would win the Privatization Scam of the Year Award for 2015. 

Voting for the worst privatization scheme in the country

Each year, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) selects a number of privatization schemes across the country and asks people to choose which one is the worst. The Scammies, as they are known, are a tongue-in-cheek look at the sleaze that accompanies a large number of privatization schemes. Privatization schemes combine the desire for profit with a high level of secrecy. A better recipe for sleaze, profiteering, and outright corruption, would be hard to find.

In 2015, there were 8 dodgy privatization schemes nominated. The larger than usual number recognizes the exceptional effort the privatization industry made in 2015 to line their pockets at our expense.

The winner is...

The winner was announced to the delegates at the Triennial NUPGE Convention in June. This year'saAward goes to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for privatizing adult basic education. 

There’s a history of problems with private colleges in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the 1990s, a private college bankruptcy left thousands of students with large debts and no way to complete their training. In 2010, it emerged that 48% of students who attended private colleges in the province were unable to repay their student loans. Yet again, privatizing college education is costing Newfoundland and Labrador residents more and leaving students high and dry.

But the government didn't stop there.Since privatization of adult basic education in 2013, the average cost of tuition has increased by 88 per cent. The number of students has dropped by over 30 per cent.

The human cost of privatization

The financial cost of privatizing adult basic education pales in comparison to the human cost. Adult basic education was supposed to give people the skills they needed to get work or go onto other training. A drop in enrollment means people are not getting the education that could provide them with a decent income and stable employment.  It represents people being forced to abandon their hope for a better life. This hurts students, but it also hurts our communities.

When the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced it was privatizing adult basic education in 2013, the government claimed it would lower costs and increase the number of graduates. Three years later, it’s clear the government was very, very wrong. Like most privatization schemes, privatizing adult basic education pushed up costs and lowered quality.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 400,000 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