TORONTO, May 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario University and College
Coalition (OUCC) issued a call to the province's political parties to
increase public investment in colleges and universities, reduce tuition
fees for all students, and protect the rights of post-secondary
Two weeks ago, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario released an
election platform that would be disastrous for public, affordable
higher education in Ontario. The OUCC hopes the PC Party will reject
its devastating plan for job and funding cuts and pursue more
Last week, the Ontario New Democratic Party promised to freeze tuition
fees for four years and eliminate interest on student loans. The NDP
did not commit to increasing funding for colleges and universities in
The Liberal platform released yesterday contained no new measures to
address high tuition fees or underfunding for post-secondary education.
Under the current Liberal government tuition fees have increased as
much as 80 per cent. The Liberal platform does include the creation of
the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, an important step for ensuring
retirement security for all Ontarians.
"With the highest tuition fees in the country, record high student debt
loads and a dismal job market, today's generation of youth are set to
be worse off than our parents' generation," said Alastair Woods
Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Ontario's
political parties must remember that you cannot build a brighter future
without investing in the students and youth who will live in it."
"For too long, students, faculty and support staff at Ontario's
Universities have seen provincial governments of all stripes deprive
post-secondary education of needed funds. On a per capita basis,
Ontario's post-secondary students receive less funding than any
jurisdiction in Canada," said Janice Folk-Dawson, Chair of CUPE's
Ontario University Workers' Coordinating Committee (OUWCC). "In this
election, ensuring Ontario's universities are adequately funded,
transparently governed, accessible and affordable needs to be a 'ballot
box' issue for every Ontario voter, and for the parties seeking to
"This is an election about jobs and the economy," said Kate Lawson,
President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty
Associations (OCUFA). "Universities and colleges are an integral part
of the economic engine of Ontario. We can't create jobs and grow the
economy if we're not prepared to make public investments in higher
"The post-secondary education system in Ontario is in crisis and must be
addressed immediately. Inadequate funding has led to a ratio of three
part-time staff for every full-time staff position at Ontario colleges.
Cost-cutting measures such as privatization and imposed online learning
compromise our future workforce. Only a serious commitment to properly
funding this sector will ensure that our students receive the quality
education that they deserve," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of
the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
"Enhanced public investment in our post-secondary institutions is
crucial if Ontario wants to thrive in the current economic climate,"
said Paul Elliott, President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers'
Federation. "Ontario students deserve a transparent post-secondary
funding model that ensures increases in enrollment are tied to
increases in the vital support staff positions that provide ancillary
academic and social services to support their academic endeavours."
The OUCC represents students, staff, and faculty at all of Ontario's
public colleges and universities. The coalition is comprised of: the
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario; the Canadian Union of Public
Employees Ontario; the Confederation of Ontario University Staff
Associations & Unions; the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty
Associations; the Ontario Public Service Employees Union; the Ontario
Secondary School Teachers' Federation; the Public Service Alliance of
Canada; Unifor; and the United Steelworkers (USW). For more
information, please visit http://ontariouniversitycoalition.ca.
SOURCE: Ontario University & College Coalition
For further information:
Kaley Kennedy, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario: (647) 302-3891 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlin Kealey: 613-818-7956 or email@example.com