TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Students across Ontario are participating in a National Day of Action organized by the Canadian Federation of Students calling on federal and provincial levels of government to work together to reduce and eliminate tuition fees, create more non-repayable grants, honour Indigenous students' treaty right to education and tackle Canada's ballooning student debt crisis. Actions are being organized across the province, with large rallies being planned for Toronto and Ottawa.
"Access to post-secondary education is a right, yet declining public funding is driving tuition fees higher, eroding quality education and bringing an entire generation to the brink of bankruptcy." said Rajean Hoilet, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, "Across Ontario and Canada, students are hitting the streets to tell federal and provincial levels of government to quit the jurisdictional bickering and finger-pointing, and actually make meaningful investments in post-secondary education that increase and improve access, affordability and quality."
Recent changes to OSAP announced in the 2016 budget will provide a new, up-front, needs-based grant to Ontario students. But without additional public funding for colleges and universities, students will continue to face tuition fee increases, an erosion of quality, mortgage-sized debt levels and worse for those who do not qualify for the new grant program like part-time and international students. Additionally, students are outraged at the federal government's refusal to honour their election platform promise adequately fund Indigenous students by lifting a funding cap and injecting much-needed cash into the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
"While changes to OSAP are a step in the right direction, we know that many students will still be left behind, and those who are not will attend institutions that are still chronically underfunded," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "If we are serious about being leaders in post-secondary education, then we must ensure our colleges and universities are of the highest quality and are fully affordable and accessible to all. That's why students are taking action today."
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 - Ontario
For further information: Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson, at 289-923-3534 (cellphone) or [email protected]; Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative, at 416-885-5488 (cellphone) or [email protected]; Alastair Woods, Media & Government Relations Coordinator, at 647-378-8942 (cellphone) or [email protected]