Tory plan will make post-secondary education worse, not better

TORONTO, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The platform released today by Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives would cut funding to the Ontario Tuition Grant, reduce university and college operating grants and reduce youth job opportunities.

"By slashing funding to student aid and making cuts across government departments, a PC government would leave students and youth even worse off than they are now," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Mounting student debt and high youth unemployment continue to impact students and families across Ontario and this plan does nothing to address them."

Since 2006, tuition fees in Ontario have increased as much as 80 per cent. As a result, the amount of money students and graduates owe the Ontario government has more than doubled, increasing 130 per cent in just seven years. The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario has recommended that the government reduce tuition fees by 30 per cent for all students.

The PC plan would cut the current Ontario tuition grant and reduce funding across government departments. There are no commitments in the platform to addressing rising tuition fees and underfunding for colleges and universities. Instead, The platform explicitly says that a PC government would cut jobs in the public service and would not replace retiring employees with young workers.

The plan does include vague commitments to expanding Ontario colleges and making it easier for international students to live and work in Ontario after graduation, but offers no real plan of action for these commitments.

"Students don't need a million low wage jobs," said Woods. "Ontario students and youth need good jobs and a plan to make college and university education more affordable. That's not what Tim Hudak is offering."

Students launched Generation Vote this week, calling on the parties to prioritize students and youth in this election. In addition to calling on parties to reduce tuition fees by 30 per cent, students and youth are also recommending Ontario's next government stop illegal ancillary fees, introduce health care for international students, end unpaid internships and increase funding for student discounts for transit.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is Ontario's largest student organization, representing more than 350,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students from all regions of the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information:

Kaley Kennedy, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator, 416-925-3825 (office) or communications@cfsontario.ca