Questions from Students and Politicians Go Unanswered
TORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ - During question period in the Legislative
Assembly of Ontario this afternoon, the McGuinty government dodged opposition
questions about the $50 million per year that Ontario's public colleges
continue to unfairly charge students in violation of the Minister of Training,
Colleges and Universities' 'Binding Policy Directive'. Ancillary fees have
been prohibited for information technology, libraries, laboratories, and other
tuition-related purposes for over a decade but the McGuinty government has
nonetheless allowed them to be collected since taking office in 2003.
Last Friday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the class
action lawsuit to stop the collection of prohibited fees launched by two
former college students against the province's 24 community colleges is a
matter for the government, not the courts. However, today, Minister John
Milloy dodged questions from Rosario Marchese, the NDP critic for
post-secondary education, claiming that he could not comment until the 30-day
appeal period on the case has expired.
"The government wasn't a named party in the class action lawsuit so
McGuinty has never had an excuse to avoid this issue," said Jen Hassum,
Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Now the court has
said that students' only protection is the government, but Premier McGuinty is
still refusing to take any responsibility or action."
With the court ruling last week, the Canadian Federation of Students -
Ontario has renewed its call to the McGuinty government to enforce its rules
against double-dipping ancillary fees and to invest $50 million annually in
Ontario's colleges to replace revenue from prohibited ancillary fees.
"With a planned surplus of $600 million for 2008, McGuinty clearly has
the resources to fund the public colleges adequately and make the college
presidents follow the rules," said Hassum. "The colleges are charging whatever
they think they can get away with, and I think that it is about time that the
Premier steps in to protect students."
The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario unites over 300,000 college
and university students and more than 35 students' unions throughout the
province. The Federation's campaign website, www.stopunfairfees.ca, draws
attention to the collection of prohibited fees from Ontario's community
For further information:
For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario: (416)
925-3825 or (416) 832-9073 (cell); Ken Marciniec, Communications Coordinator,
CFS-Ontario: (416) 925-3825 or (416) 803-6066 (cell)