Toronto, Jan. 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following the Ford Government’s announcement on post-secondary education yesterday further details have emerged that confirm any benefit students may experience from a reduction in tuition fees will be offset by other reckless changes being proposed. These severe changes will be felt across the province by students and their families, faculty, staff and administrations.


“The Ford Government may want to celebrate yesterday’s announcement but the truth is any benefit of a tuition fee reduction is being offset by other reckless changes being proposed,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “The real impact of this announcement was revealed in the details and in almost every way it is a bad deal for students and their families.”


After yesterday’s press conference and a meeting with staff at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities the following negative proposals can be confirmed:

  1. International students, who pay the highest tuition fees, are ineligible for a 10% reduction in tuition fees.
  2. Universities and colleges will face funding cuts of up to $440 million which impact the quality of education in the province. These deep cuts are expected to be downloaded onto students and workers through larger class sizes, fewer course options and cuts to wages and benefits.
  3. Students pursuing second-entry programs will be forced to take out a loan no matter their financial situation. This will impact graduate students and professional students in programs such as law and medicine and will likely mean students from middle and lower income families will have to take on greater debt to access these programs.
  4. The 6-month grace period on repaying student loans is being eliminated and interest will begin accumulating on student loans immediately after graduation.
  5. Mature students will face new barriers to accessing student loans and grants and the definition of ‘dependent’ is being changed requiring students to be out of high school for 6 years (up from 4). These mature students will have their parents income factored into the OSAP needs assessment, regardless of whether or not they are economically independent, affecting access to grants.
  6. The expected parental contribution amount, which determines how much financial assistance students will receive, is set to increase. This change negatively impacts families that have multiple children pursuing post-secondary education, as well as students whose parents do not contribute the expected amount.
  7. Students from families with annual earnings below $50,000 will be forced to take a loan as part of their financial assistance, rather than a non-repayable grant covering the average cost of tuition.  
  8. Students from families with annual earnings between $50,000 and $140,000 will receive a higher proportion of repayable loans to non-repayable grants in their financial assistance.
  9. Students from families with annual earnings between $140,000 and $170,000 will no longer eligible for the Ontario Student Grant, only repayable loans.
  10. Students’ unions are under attack. Students democratically decide to participate in and fund the activities of their students’ union through the collection of dues. The Ford government is encouraging students to opt out of their students’ union dues. This will reduce the ability of students’ unions to represent and service their members. Students’ unions serve their members in a number of significant ways, all of which are now under threat:
  1. Coordinating non-profit health and dental insurance plan
  2. Negotiating discounted transit passes for students
  3. Providing academic support and advocate services (such as challenging academic misconduct decisions and representing students on tribunals)
  4. Representing students on academic councils and academic departments
  5. Running essential support services such as peer support, equity centres (e.g Pride centres, gender resource centres, disability advocacy centre, racialized, indigenous student centres), sexual violence support centres, food banks
  6. Creating volunteer and good job opportunities for students;
  7. Collecting fees for independent campus press, such as newspaper and radio  
  8. Operating non-profit commercial services, such as book stores, restaurants, cafes and food services.
  9. Resource causes and programs that students’ have democratically decided to fund, such as the Student Refugee Program (WUSC)
  10. Coordinating orientation weeks
  11. Providing first contact for international students
  12. Offering funding for student clubs


“Students’ unions are the independent, democratic voice for students ensuring they may have a say in their own education. Students, through their students’ unions, have long fought for government action on accessible, affordable high quality public post-secondary education, so its no wonder they are the next target of the Ford Government” said Sami Pritchard, National Executive Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.


The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest student organization in the province, representing over 350,000 college and university students, and advocates for affordable, high-quality post-secondary education.


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For more information contact:
Ian McRae, Government Relations and Policy Coordinator: 416-925-3825 or 306-852-0128 (cell)
Nour Alideeb, Chairperson: 416-925-3825

Ian McRae Canadian Federation of Students Ontario / Fédération canadienne des étudiant-e-s Ontario 416-925-3825