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CFS Ontario releases new leaflet on student changes

A new leaflet with more information.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Ontario division of the Canadian Federation of Students on Thursday posted a link to a new leaflet that outlined the organization’s usual calls for free tuition but included a page dedicated to the changes by the provincial government to student life.

A part of their “We the Students” movement, CFS highlighted the Student Choice Initiative that forces optional student fees for this fall, the provincial cuts to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and a 10 per cent cut in tuition fees that could see unregulated schools hike costs to cover the loss.

Railing on the SCI, the Federation writes that it “makes fees that students have voted on through democratic referenda optional”, reducing the ability of student unions to represent and provide services for members.

With OSAP, the CFS criticizes the loss of the six-month interest-free period after a student graduates and the new policy that even low-income students — who had virtually free tuition before — will be forced to take out a few minimum loans over grants.

The organization, who represents student unions at several schools across Ontario, said that, though it provides relief to some students, the 10 per cent tuition cut by the provincial government, it is not in conjunction with “a much-needed increase in public funding”.

“Institutions will need to make up for the funding shortfall through budget cuts,” CFS concludes, also noting that the 10 per cent cut does not apply to the higher-paying international students.

Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government introduced these changes to student financial life on Jan. 17 to much criticism from student groups, unions, campus publications and opposition political parties.

Since the announcement by post-secondary Minister Merrilee Fullerton, there have been several rallies held at Queen’s Park in Toronto where students have organizers in protest.

Not all students have criticized the government’s moves but a loud and potential majority of them have made their opinion against the changes known.

The Ontario New Democrats, who were the runner-up’s in the 2018 election, planned to have loan forgiveness and free tuition for nearly, if not, all students. Their provincial legislators have been fighting back against the PC changes.

Image of the CFS We The Students homepage. ■

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