TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Undergraduate Student
Alliance (OUSA) is pleased that Premier Wynne's first Speech from the
Throne placed so many student priorities at the forefront of the agenda
for this upcoming legislative session.
Students are particularly enthusiastic to learn that combatting youth
unemployment is a priority for Premier Wynne and her new Cabinet. The
unemployment rate for university-educated youth in Ontario has
increased substantially since the onset of the recession, climbing from
7.5 percent in 2008 to 11.8 percent in 2012. It is currently more than
double the unemployment rate faced by their older, university-educated
Students hope that upcoming discussions also include the topic of summer
employment, as students in Ontario regularly rely on this income to
fund their post-secondary education. In 2012, Ontario had the highest
summer unemployment rate for students in Canada, with approximately
111,600 students unable to find work. If left unaddressed, high summer
unemployment rates for Ontario's youth will prevent more and more
students from attaining a post-secondary education.
The Premier's renewed commitment to improving mental health support in
Ontario is also welcome news. Many post-secondary students are at an
age that puts them at risk of experiencing early-onset mental health
illnesses. Last summer's announcement of a $21 million investment into
a Mental Health Innovation Fund was an excellent first step to
improving mental health services in Ontario, but more must be done to
address this issue. OUSA has recommended that the provincial government
prioritize investment in front-line care for mental health
related-illness and that universities be given increased resources to
improve on-campus mental health services to meet high student demand.
Finally, OUSA applauds the Premier's commitment to continue to offer
students the 30 Per Cent Off Ontario Tuition Grant (OTG) as a means of
lowering the cost of post-secondary education in Ontario. Students will
continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that this
grant is expanded to include those students who are unable to enroll in
university directly out of high school due to access barriers. Students
from northern, rural, and aboriginal communities are less likely to
attend university immediately after high school and would benefit from
an extension of OTG eligibility requirements to include those who delay
their entrance into post secondary.
In the months to come, students look forward to working with Premier
Wynne and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities on
specific actions to address these priorities and to further enhance the
accessibility and quality of Ontario's post-secondary system.
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 155,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at nine 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) 341-9948