February 15, 2017

Andrew Scheer Announces Tax Policy to Support Parents of Independent School Children and Homeschoolers

Andrew Scheer announced that as Prime Minister he will make independent school tuition partially tax-deductible and bring in a Homeschooling Tax Credit to give parents more choice in education.

“About one in 12 students in Canada is educated outside of the public system,” said Scheer, candidate for the Leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. “As more and more parents avail themselves of the education choices they believe are best for their children, I want to make sure they are supported.”

An Andrew Scheer government would allow parents of students attending independent schools a tax deduction of up to $4000 tuition annually per child. As well, a Homeschoolers’ Amount of $1,000 would be available as a tax credit to parents who choose to homeschool their child.

According to a recent study by the Fraser Institute, there are almost 2000 independent schools in Canada, as well, the share of students attending independent schools has grown over the last several years.

“Parents have many reasons to send their children to independent schools or to homeschool. An increased emphasis on particular subject matter, special education needs, or a desire for a religious focus, the reasons are as individual as each child,” Scheer continued. “I believe that parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children, and the government should make it a little easier for parents to make their own choices.”





What is being proposed exactly?
An Andrew Scheer government would:

  • Allow parents of children attending independent schools to deduct tuition off their taxable income up to $4,000 per child per year.
  • Introduce a Homeschoolers tax credit for parents of $1000 per child per year.

How much will these programs cost?
We estimate that, based on current numbers of children attending independent school or being homeschooled, the cost would be approximately $260 million per year.

Isn’t education a provincial matter? Why are you interfering?
Fully respecting the fact that it is a provincial responsibility, the federal government has long-encouraged participation in education by making post-secondary tuition tax deductible.  This policy is simply extending that principle to elementary and secondary education outside of the public system.

Independent and home schooling are an alternative to public schools. By making it more affordable for parents to choose to homeschool their children or send them to an independent school, some of the financial pressures on provincial governments could be alleviated.  

Why limit the deduction to $4,000?
Independent school tuition varies depending on type of school, number of children attending per family, etc. The vast majority of students who attend independent schools are from families who are at or below middle income and this allows us to focus the support where it would be most needed.

How will you determine whether an independent school is valid?
The tax deduction would apply to tuition for schools that are registered or recognized by the Province in which they operate.