Students to Colleges: "Obay" the Law


    Ontario's Colleges Must Stop Charging Illegal Ancillary Fees Now

    TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Today, in reaction to the announcement that
Colleges Ontario is responsible for the Obay viral advertising campaign,
students are calling on Ontario's public colleges to "obay" the law.
    All 24 public colleges in the province have continued to charge ancillary
fees that are prohibited by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Universities, even in the wake of a class action lawsuit that was launched to
stop the illegal fees. In June 2007, two former students, acting as
representative plaintiffs, filed the lawsuit against Ontario's colleges to end
the collection of tuition-related ancillary fees and secure $200 million in
compensation for current and former students.
    "It's ironic that Colleges Ontario has chosen to market itself this way,"
said Jen Hassum, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.
"If the colleges want to talk about obeying anything, students ask them to
explain why they refuse to obey the law."
    Ancillary fees are charged in addition to tuition fees. Legitimate
ancillary fees are for certain purposes such as student centres, athletics
facilities, extended health and dental insurance, or other services that are
supplementary to the basic operations of a college or university. However all
of the public colleges in Ontario are charging prohibited, tuition-related
ancillary fees for information technology, academic buildings or student
support-items that are funded by tuition fees and government capital or
operating grants.
    Internal government documents acquired through requests for access to
information show that the college presidents have been reminded many times by
the Ministry not to charge these prohibited ancillary fees.
    "Even Premier McGuinty, as an opposition critic, correctly called
prohibited ancillary fees nothing more than back-door tuition fee increases,"
said Jen Hassum. "The direct effect of unaffordable tuition and ancillary fees
is that they discourage many from pursuing post-secondary education at all."

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites over 300,000 college
and university students and more than 35 students' unions throughout the
province.




For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario: (416)
925-3825 or (416) 832-9073 (cell); Joel Duff, Organiser, CFS-Ontario: (416)
925-3825 or (416) 707-0349 (cell); Doug Elliott, Representative Plaintiffs'
Legal Counsel, Roy Elliott O'Connor LLP: (416) 362-1989 ext. 226