For immediate release: January 30, 2019
FREDERICTON, N.B. - Today, alongside 75+ post-secondary institutions across Canada representing over one million students, the UNB Student Union signed a letter voicing collective disappointment with the Ontario government’s January 17th announcement. The announcement pertained to the recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, also known as OSAP, tuition and ancillary fees (non-tuition fees). These changes raise serious concerns and red flags for students and their families. We firmly believe it lacked proper consultation with students and was a step backwards for the province of Ontario.
Each year, hundreds of students are elected across Ontario on promises to keep our institutions accountable, to ensure the health and safety of our students, and fill crucial gaps that our institutions do not provide — such as health and dental plans, peer-to-peer support, transit passes, on-campus press, support services like food banks and more. The Student Choice Initiative puts all of this at risk and threatens the post-secondary student experience.
New Brunswick’s targeted tuition relief programs were modelled after OSAP. The New Brunswick Free Tuition Program and Tuition Relief for the Middle Class provided support to over 7000 New Brunswick students in the most recent academic year, helping to reduce the financial barriers to accessing post-secondary education.
Each year, hundreds of students are elected across Ontario, and Canada, on promises to keep postsecondary institutions and governments accountable, to ensure the health and safety of students and fill crucial gaps in services that postsecondary institutions do not provide. This includes the provision of transit passes, health and dental plans, peer-to-peer support, bursaries, support services, non-partisan government advocacy, and more.
Ontario’s newly announced “Student Choice Initiative” allows students to opt-out of the fees which ensure the success of these initiatives and services, putting all of them at risk. As a result, the Student Choice Initiative threatens the postsecondary student experience in Ontario.
The UNBSU strongly believes in voicing students concerns and fostering consistent innovation and growth through engaging and empowering the student body. For this reason, the aforementioned changes are not simply a provincial concern. This could set a national precedent that has a measurable impact on the student experience and campus culture across the country. Students will be less safe, more vulnerable to failure and less able to gain the skills and work-related experience they’ll need to find jobs after graduation.
For more details, please find the letter linked here.
The UNB Student Union aims to achieve consistency, transparency, and innovation through their advocacy efforts and initiatives. With this year’s strategic plan’s goals, the UNBSU envisions a diverse, vibrant, and transformative university experience through fostering pride and unity for all.
Simal Qureshi, UNB Student Union
firstname.lastname@example.org, (709) 214 0673