Ontario students at Queen's Park to present budget recommendations

TORONTO, March 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Students from across Ontario will be meeting with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) this week to present recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget.

"Students and youth in Ontario pay the highest tuition fees in the country and are faced with record high levels of student debt and dismal employment options," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "This week, students will be meeting with MPPs from all parties to present solutions to this crisis."

On average, undergraduate students in Ontario pay $7,259 in tuition fees and graduate students pay $8,456, about three times what students in Newfoundland and Labrador pay. In January, the youth unemployment rate was 16 per cent in Ontario, more than double the overall unemployment rate in the province.

Students' budget recommendations include reducing tuition fees for all students by 30 per cent over three years; ending illegal ancillary fees; improving access to graduate studies; strengthening enforcement to end illegal internships; ending unpaid work terms in the public sector and eliminating tuition fees for internships or placements in academic programs; and investing in making public transit more affordable for students. The budget recommendations also include various revenue measures the government could implement to pay for these investments.

"In the coming weeks, the Liberal government and the opposition parties will lay out their priorities for Ontario," said Woods. "MPPs must not leave students and their families behind and commit to addressing high tuition fees and student debt."

Students will be meeting MPPs from every party and from all regions of the province, including the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities Brad DuGuid, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and PC Critic for Training, Colleges and Universities Rob Leone.

The full document containing the recommendations, Addressing a Crisis, is available here.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 300,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students from Windsor to Thunder Bay.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information:

Caitlin Smith, Campaigns Coordinator, 647-637-5317 (mobile)