TORONTO, Sept. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Students and community allies today are engaging in canvassing and outreach to talk about the dire economic circumstances faced by many college and university students. Coinciding with the annual Labour Day parade, students are reaching out directly to the public to talk about high tuition fees, ballooning student debt, declining employment prospects and poor working conditions.
"Hundreds of thousands of students are heading to campuses across the province this year to face mounting financial obstacles," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Rising tuition fees, inflated costs of living, ballooning debt levels and grim job prospects are just a few factors that are bringing an entire generation to the brink of bankruptcy."
Students across Ontario are calling on the provincial government to further their support for accessible and affordable education by eliminating all financial barriers that deny access to education for too many Ontarians. More specifically, students are calling on the Ontario government to: progressively reduce and eliminate tuition fees for all students, convert student loans into non-repayable grants in the 2017 Ontario Budget, remove interest on existing student loans and immediately introduce debt relief programs geared towards low and middle-income students and alumni.
Ontario boasts the highest tuition fees in the country and students often graduate with debt loads that average at $26,800 for undergraduate students and $15,700 for college students. Additionally, students are partnering with community allies to promote the $15 and Fairness campaign, which seeks to bump Ontario's minimum wage to $15 an hour and strengthen employment laws in the province.
"Students aren't just students. They're workers too. And our issues aren't just student issues, they effect our families, our communities and our province," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "We know that addressing students' financial burdens has a ripple effect that stretches far and wide across the province. This is why we are here today to get the public behind our call to action."
Students are canvassing at the corner of Dufferin Street and Joe Shuster Way from 12PM to 2PM.
The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students