Student Fees Lawsuit Ruled a Political Matter

    Students Say it is Time for the Government to Enforce its Rules

    TORONTO, March 28 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Madam Justice Joan L. Lax
of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled against consideration of the
$200 million class action lawsuit to stop prohibited college ancillary fees.
Justice Lax's ruling found that the enforcement of the Minister's 'Binding
Policy Directive' on ancillary fees is the responsibility of the government,
not the Court.
    "Today's ruling means that hundreds of thousands of students who were
wrongfully charged fees have no legal recourse," said Jen Hassum, Chairperson
of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "We've always known that the
McGuinty government had the ability to stop prohibited ancillary fees but this
ruling makes it clear that it is solely their responsibility."
    The lawsuit against all 24 public colleges in Ontario was filed by two
former college students in June 2007. The legal action was initiated as a
result of the failure of successive Training, Colleges and Universities
Ministers to enforce their own 'Binding Policy Directive' that prohibits
tuition-related ancillary fees.
    "Premier McGuinty has known about the prohibited ancillary fees for more
than 14 years, yet his government continues to turn a blind eye while the
colleges wrongfully take tens-of-millions of dollars from students every
year," said Dan Roffey, a former George Brown College student who was one of
two representative plaintiffs. "The McGuinty government has publicly refused
to take responsibility because this case was before the Court. Now Premier
McGuinty going to have to stop hiding behind lawyers and fix this problem."
    "While we are disappointed with today's ruling, Dan and I have no regrets
about bringing this case forward," said former Conestoga College student
Amanda Hassum. "It took our lawsuit to bring attention to these unjust fees
and I hope that the government will finally take action because of it."
    The representative plaintiffs have an automatic right to appeal the
Ontario court's ruling and will make a decision on how to proceed after
consulting with their legal counsel. Representatives of the Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario will be meeting with Training, Colleges and
Universities' Minister Milloy next week to discuss concerns about high tuition
fees, prohibited ancillary fees and the government's chronic under-funding of
Ontario's public colleges.
    "As long as college students are being charged prohibited fees, this
fight isn't over," said Jen Hassum.
    More information, including a copy of the ruling, is available on the website.

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites over 300,000 college
and university students and more than 35 students' unions throughout the

For further information:

For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario, (416)
925-3825 or (416) 832-9073 (cell); Doug Elliott, Representative Plaintiffs'
Legal Counsel, Roy Elliott O'Connor LLP, (416) 362-1989 ext. 226; Dan Roffey,
Representative Plaintiff, (647) 222-7633 (cell); Amanda Hassum, Representative
Plaintiff, (519) 221-5322 (cell)

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