TORONTO, ON – On January 17, 2019, the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) government launched a reckless plan for post-secondary education in the province, leaving students in Ontario worse off. This announcement included:

  • A guaranteed 4 per cent cut in institutional funding;
  • A reduction in non-repayable grants and an increase in student loans;
  • An attack on students’ unions ability to represent and service their members;
  • The elimination of the 6-month grace period for loan repayment.

“The Doug Ford government has attempted to spin this announcement as a 10 per cent reduction in tuition fees when in reality Ford’s plan will increase out-of-pocket costs for students, diminish the quality of education students receive and undermine crucial student supports on campus,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “The reality of loans-based financial aid programs is that students from low-income families pay more for their education in the long-run. This announcement will make life harder for students and their families.” Students’ unions are important and independent organizations that advocate for students’ best interests and provide cost-savings services. The services and representation provided by the students’ union are paid for by students’ union dues that have been democratically set by members. The Ford government’s “Student Choice Initiative” will encourage students to opt-out of these dues. Minister Fullerton has grossly exaggerated the cost of students’ union dues in this province. The average students’ union dues are roughly $100. Students’ unions serve students in a number of significant ways, including:

  • Coordinating health and dental insurance plans;
  • Providing transit passes for students;
  • Running essential support services such as peer support, equity centres (e.g Pride centres), sexual violence support centres, food banks, etc.;
  • Providing academic support and advocacy services;
  • Creating volunteer and job opportunities for students;
  • Operating non-profit commercial services, such as book stores, restaurants, cafes and food services.

“This is a cynical move by the provincial government to undermine the very organizations that will fight Doug Ford’s cuts to public post-secondary education,” said Sami Pritchard, National Executive Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Students remain undeterred and will unite with workers in Ontario to protect quality, public post-secondary education and defend students’ right to independent democratic representation.” 

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For more information contact: Ian McRae, Government Relations and Policy Coordinator: 416-925-3825 or 306-852-0128 (cell) Nour Alideeb, Chairperson: 416-925-3825 or chairperson@cfsontario.ca Sami Pritchard, Ontario National Representative: 416-925-3825 or ontrep@cfs-fcee.ca