Students Launch Email Campaign to Stop Illegal Ancillary Fees



    2008 Ontario Budget Must Replace Revenue from Illegal Fees

    TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Today the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
launched an email campaign to stop illegal ancillary fees that are being
charged by the province's public post-secondary institutions. Students and
their families are being encouraged to use the www.StopUnfairFees.ca campaign
website to email their letters to Minister of Training, Colleges and
Universities John Milloy and Premier Dalton McGuinty.
    "Premier McGuinty has known about the illegal ancillary fees for 14 years
and his government has already been in power for one full-term," said Jen
Hassum, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "It's time
that this self-proclaimed 'activist' government takes action to fix the
problem."
    The campaign calls on the Minister to enforce his long-standing Binding
Policy Directive that prohibits universities and colleges from charging
"tuition-related" ancillary fees.
    Ancillary fees are costs that are additional to tuition fees. Legitimate
ancillary fees are only allowed to be charged for things such as the student
centres, athletic facilities, extended health plans, or other services that
are supplementary. However all 24 of the public colleges in Ontario continue
to charge prohibited tuition-related ancillary fees for services such as
information technology or libraries that are already funded by tuition fees
and government operating or capital grants. According to the Ministry's own
internal documents, the colleges' illegal ancillary fees for I.T. alone were
costing students $131.68 on average in 2005-2006.
    Last summer, two former students launched a class action lawsuit against
Ontario's public colleges to stop the prohibited fees and secure $200 million
in compensation. The Government of Ontario is not a party to the legal action
but is responsible for enforcing its rules about what fees colleges are
permitted to charge students.
    "The 2008 provincial budget is the perfect opportunity to properly fund
community colleges and to end the illegal fees," said Hassum. "Through this
email campaign, students will be able to influence the budgeting process and
remind the government that these 'back-door' tuition fee increases aren't
acceptable."
    In its pre-budget submission to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance
and Economic Affairs, the Federation called for the McGuinty government to
budget an additional $50 million per year to replace the revenue colleges are
currently generating through the collection of illegal ancillary fees.

    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:

For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario: (416)
832-9073 (cell); Joel Duff, Organiser, CFS-Ontario: (416) 925-3825 or (416)
707-0349 (cell); Ken Marciniec, Communications Coordinator, CFS-Ontario: (416)
925-3825 or (416) 803-6066 (cell)


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