TORONTO, June 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Students from across the GTA are occupying the constituency office of Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Students are frustrated that the recently adopted 2012 Ontario Budget will do nothing to address increasing student debt and tuition fees in Ontario. Under the McGuinty government, tuition fees have increased up to 71 per cent in Ontario since 2006. The occupation falls on June 22, a day called by striking students in Québec for action against high fees.
"Students in Ontario face the highest tuition fees in the country. With McGuinty's budget enshrining further tuition fee increases and $100 million worth of cuts to student financial aid, there is no relief in sight," said Sarah Jayne King, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students feel betrayed by their government, and expect the Minister to act in the best interest of Ontarians by improving access to post-secondary education."
The 2012 Ontario Budget allows tuition fee increases from five to eight per cent, and cuts nine grant, scholarship, and bursary programs. The Liberals never fulfilled their election promise to reduce tuition fees by 30 per cent. Instead, they introduced a grant that helped less than one quarter of students, based on numbers released by the government. Students presented a cost-neutral plan to the Standing Committee on Finance that would have allowed tuition fees to be reduced for every student in the province by 25 per cent, but students' recommendations were ignored.
"Students in Québec and in Ontario are tired of paying for poor government decisions and understand the importance of affordable post-secondary education," says Alastair Woods, a York student participating in the occupation. "Until our government recognizes and acts on this priority, students will continue to fight."
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 300,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students from Windsor to Thunder Bay.
For further information:
Sarah Jayne King, Chairperson: 416-925-3825 or 647-339-4070 (cell)
Alastair Woods, York student inside the occupation: 647-378-8942 (cell)