TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's student leaders wrapped up a
week at Queen's park last Friday, having spent Dec 3-6th meeting with
politicians from all major provincial parties. Students were highly
encouraged by the positive reception to their recommendations for
addressing youth unemployment, improvements to financial aid, and
increased fiscal accountability at universities, and were particularly
encouraged by a number of government announcements that occurred during
OUSA's Student Advocacy Conference.
"The provincial government made a number of positive announcements
during our conference at Queen's Park that are going to directly
benefit university students," said Amir Eftekarpour, President of OUSA
and Vice President External of the University Students' Council of
Western University. "These policy changes highlight the importance of
student advocacy as they stem from conversations OUSA has been engaged
in with the government over the last few years."
Policy changes announced by the Province last week included changes to
university tuition-billing practices and payment deadlines and changes
to Ontario's ancillary fee protocols.
"Minister Duguid's announcements regarding tuition payment deadlines,
deferral fees, ancillary fees, and flat-fees will make Ontario's
post-secondary system more fair and affordable for students," continued
Eftekarpour. "Students look forward to working with the government to
continue progress on these important issues."
OUSA also welcomed an announcement from the Ministry of Labour that
would see students enrolled in for-credit, unpaid co-op programs in
Ontario gaining coverage under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
"We appreciate the Ministry of Labour's proactive work in addressing the
loophole in the OHSA that had previously barred unpaid co-op students
from being protected," continued Eftekarpour. "As well, Minister
Naqvi's commitment to more proactive enforcement of the Employment
Standards Act, a recommendation coming out of our government
submission, is a strong step towards addressing the problem of unpaid
internships. Students look forward to engaging in further discussions
on these issues."
Alongside the promising announcements concerning technical tuition fees
and workplace protections for students released by the provincial
government last week, students participating in last week's OUSA
Student Advocacy Conference were met with very warm receptions from all
three major political parties.
"We're extremely pleased with the responses we received from Ministers
and MPPs regarding many of advocacy asks," said Eftekarpour. "We
received a lot of support from all parties on our recommendations to
convert tuition and education tax credits into upfront grants, improve
employment opportunities for young Ontarians and to address fiscal
responsibility on our campuses. Students look forward to seeing this
support lead to improvements to our student financial assistance
programs and quality enhancements at Ontario's universities."
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member
associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information:
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications.
T: (416) 605-1345