“All men and women – and all children – have a right to education. Closely linked to this right to education is the right of parents, of families, to choose according to their convictions, the kind of education and the model of the school they wish for their children.”Pope John Paul II
One of CCSTA’s main goals, through collaboration with educators, politicians and Canadian catholics, is to protect this right to Catholic education. Because of the varying funding structures which make up Canada’s Catholic school system, Toonies for Tuition is a necessary component to maintaining this right for parents.
What’s CCSTA’s dream?
CCSTA’s dream is that every Canadian child, from any socioeconomic or faith background, would have the chance to be educated in a Catholic School. We envision a reality where every child in Canada would have the opportunity to be formed in body, mind and spirit and encounter the love of Christ.
Unfortunately, that dream is not a reality in Canada – and that’s why we’re passionate advocates of the Toonies for Tuition Program.
For many years, Canadian parents across Canada had the right to choose a Catholic Education for their child. With a strong and positive reputation of educating students in body, mind and spirit, Catholic schools were respected for making a significant contribution to the development of Canadian society and culture. Subsequently, the right to choose a Catholic school was protected by many. When government funding for Catholic schools came into question, many advocates of Catholic Education stood up and fought to protect a parents’ right to choose which type of education they wanted for their child.
Despite this strong legacy of Catholic education and the many advocates for public funding of Catholic schools, the increasing secularisation of Canada brought into question the need for Catholic schools. Unfortunately, today we only have full public funding for Catholic Schools in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Manitoba and British Columbia receive partial funding while Quebec and the Atlantic provinces receive no public funding at all. Many Canadian parents still want their children to be educated in Catholic schools but because of the costs involved in some provinces, are unable to afford a Catholic education. As advocates of Catholic education, the question for us remains,
‘how can we, the Canadian Catholic School family, shoulder the financial burden and enable more parents to choose Catholic schools?’
What is Toonies for Tuition?
In 2005, CCSTA established a Charitable Foundation for this exact reason – to help shoulder the financial burden of families who want to choose Catholic schools in Provinces without full funding. The following year at the AGM in Saint John’s, NF, (a province with no public funding) Toonies for Tuition became the official fundraiser for the Foundation and CCSTA members from across Canada brought this fundraiser back to their local school boards to begin spreading the word.
In 2011, in an effort to engage students, trustees from Saskatchewan Catholic School Board created a Toonies Trophy Challenge. In addition to creating fun competition for schools from coast to coast, this Trophy Challenge has been a major success in raising significant funds for the Toonies campaign. Schools across the country participate in various fundraisers throughout the year with proceeds supporting Toonies for Tuition. The fundraisers have also become perfect opportunities for students to learn about loving and supporting our neighbour. Our hope is that more and more schools engage in fundraisers for Toonies and through our common goal, a sense of unity and support is created among our Canadian Catholic School family spread across Canada.
A difficult few years
As many parents still want to choose Catholic schools for their children, we receive far more requests than donations each year. This means that there are still a significant number of families in Canada who do not have access to Catholic Education – and the need for Toonies for Tuition continues.
The discrepancy between requests and donations was further accentuated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, when Toonies for Tuition donations took a hit amidst school closures and provincial lockdowns. As we begin to recuperate from the devastation brought about by the pandemic, Toonies for Tuition remains a priority for CCSTA as a fundamental aspect of protecting and promoting Catholic Education. Our hope for this year is that the Canadian Catholic School family rallies to the occasion to assist families who otherwise could not be part of a Catholic school. Our hope is that by shouldering the financial burden of those who can’t afford a Catholic School, we strengthen our Catholic identity, grow an increased sense of unity across the country and send the message loud and clear to all families wanting a Catholic Education that we value them, support them and will do everything we can to include them in the Canadian Catholic School family.
Our Communications Plan for this year refers to our emphasis on expanding our reach and strengthening our voice in defence of Catholic schools. Part of strengthening that voice is standing up and supporting those who don’t have the chance to attend catholic school.
We hope that one day our dream of making Catholic Education accessible to all will become a reality and that reality will be built upon the generosity of a Christian community who rallied together to ensure no one would be left out of the Canadian Catholic School family.
How can you help?
✔ Share the Toonies for Tuition Campaign with those interested in Catholic Education: educators, clergy, politicians, parents, Catholic school alumni, etc.
✔ Donate today – every amount makes a difference! Tax receipts are issued for donations $20 and above.
✔ Send stories of how Toonies has helped families in your school or photos of your school fundraising for Toonies for Tuition! Email stories and photos to our Communications Officer, Catherine Burnham at