Students Say Government's Vow to Stop Illegal Fees is an Encouraging First Step

    TORONTO, June 8 /CNW/ - On the heels of the launch of a $200 million
class action lawsuit, students are encouraged by the Ontario government's
public confirmation that "(a)ncillary fees are not to be charged for core
academic or capital issues..." A directive, reportedly issued yesterday,
indicates that the government will finally begin enforcing its long-standing
policy that prohibits Ontario's 24 community colleges from charging fees such
as computer, library or laboratory fees.
    Education critics for both opposition parties and the union representing
college faculty and staff have publicly expressed their support for the
students' class action lawsuit and the campaign to stop the collection of
prohibited fees at colleges and universities.
    The Canadian Federation of Students points to years of inadequate
government funding as the root cause of the current illegal ancillary fee
regime at Ontario colleges. "Ontario is ninth out of ten in government funding
for colleges," said Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "The government has essentially employed a strategy of
underfunding in which they have allowed colleges to charge hidden tuition fees
with a wink and a nod."
    The Federation is calling on the government to work with the colleges to
ensure that students who were forced to pay the illegal fees are reimbursed.
"I am happy to hear that our lawsuit is already getting traction with
government decision makers," said Daniel Roffey, one of the two representative
plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. "But the fact of the matter is that
students who were charged illegal fees must be compensated. We are still
waiting for the government to address this matter."
    Students say that all parties should begin negotiations toward a fair
settlement that reflects the damages they and their families have suffered.
"The Canadian Federation of Students is prepared to assist the parties in
finding a constructive resolution to the problem," said Greener. "Any
long-term solution to weaning colleges off of illegal fees must include proper
government funding in order to ensure that core academic services receive the
resources they require."

For further information:

For further information: Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson, (416)
925-3825 or (416) 301-5747 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser, (416)
925-3825 or (416) 707-0349 (cell); Dan Roffey, Representative Plaintiff, (647)
222-7633 (cell)

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