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Fund being created for students experiencing financial hardship due to college strike

Last Updated Nov 11, 2017 at 11:53 pm EST

The Ontario government has ordered the province’s colleges to create a fund to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of a faculty strike that has cancelled classes for a month.

Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews says she has heard from students who are worried about how to pay for unexpected costs that could arise as a result of the labour disruption, like having to pay additional rent or cancelling travel plans.

Matthews says Ontario’s 24 colleges will establish the dedicated fund with all the savings from the strike, made up of unpaid wages to striking staff and other savings from not operating the schools.

She says she will work with students and the colleges to establish the parameters of the fund.

Earlier this week, Ontario’s Labour Relations Board set dates for a vote on the College Employer Council’s final offer to striking faculty – balloting will take place online from Nov. 14 – 16.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents the 12,000 striking college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, has called on its members to reject the offer.

The strike began on Oct. 15 and has left 500,000 full time and part time students out of class.

Matthews says she has met with student leaders and agrees that the fund must be established quickly to help students.

“This is a challenging time for everyone, but particularly for students,” she said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “`So, in the coming days, I look forward to working directly with student leaders and colleges on how we can lessen the impact of the strike on students. They deserve our support.”

The ministry could not immediately say how large the fund would be, but colleges reported $5 million in savings after an 18-day strike in 2006.

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All students should receive refunds for fees paid plus additional compensation for further costs incurred, not to mention lost income as they won’t be graduating as originally planned (employers will now look elsewhere to fill available spots), summer jobs already committed to could be in jeopardy if the semesters are pushed out. When/if teachers ever go back students will not receive the same quality of education they originally paid for as curriculum will likely be cut/condensed.

November 10, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Watch, the compensations will be so small that the students cannot cover the 1 month rent of the rooming house they are living in. The locals can get a job, not the visa students.

November 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm