Students hold mock coroner's inquest into the death of social services

TORONTO, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - In anticipation of Halloween, college and university students held a mock coroner's inquest into the death of various social services, killed by underfunding and budget cuts. The event was a call to action for the province-wide Day of Action for a Poverty-Free Ontario, organised by the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

"Finance Minister Dwight Duncan recently foreshadowed budgetary cuts and we're here to say that Ontarians need help through this recession, we need social supports and services," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

This past summer youth unemployment was at a record high, applications for financial assistance climbed by double digits in Toronto, and tuition fees increased from four to eight percent for the third straight year in a row. Students are relying more and more on social services to help them get by.

"Investing in social services is investing in people," said Darshika Selvasivam, Vice-President Campaigns and Advocacy for the York Federation of Students. "During the mock-inquest, students were able to revive our social services like healthcare, public housing and education by applying public pressure to change the government's priorities. We need these services revived for real by Finance Minister Duncan."

"Students don't want to bear witness to the death of those social services that have made our province as great as it is," said Liana Salvador, Vice-President of Education of the Ryerson Students' Union. "Students need the same supports that helped our parents get where they are today."

This mock-coroner's inquest was held to help raise awareness of events across Ontario that are taking place for the November 5 Day of Action.

"Students have united with community organisations, labour and other advocates to call on Premier Dalton McGuinty to take poverty reduction seriously and enact those measures that will help to pull this province of economic recession," said Hadia Akhtar, Vice-President External of the University of Toronto Students' Union.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students across the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: For further information: Shelley Melanson, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario: (416) 882-9927 (cell); Joel Duff, Organiser, CFS-Ontario: (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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