Letter to Minister Fullerton – DC Students Inc.
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Letter to Minister Fullerton

Durham College Students Inc sent the following letter to the Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, MPP, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

 

 

Durham College Students Inc.

2000 Simcoe St. N, Oshawa, Ontario, L1G 0A1   www.DCStudentsInc.ca

 

January 24, 2019

 

The Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, MPP

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Mowat Block, 3rd Floor

900 Bay St.

Toronto, ON M7A 1L2

 

c.c.:                 The Honourable Doug Ford, MPP

                        The Honourable Christine Elliott, MPP

                        The Honourable Vic Fedeli, MPP

                        The Honourable Todd Smith, MPP

                        Ms. Andrea Horwath, MPP

                        Mr. John Fraser, MPP

                        Mr. Mike Schreiner. MPP

                        Ms. Jennifer French, MPP

                        Mr. Lorn Coe, MPP

                        The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP

                        Ms. Lindsay Park, MPP

                        Mr. Don Lovisa

 

Minister Fullerton,

We express deep concern that cuts to tuition fees will not be matched by increases in grants to intuitions. We further express deep concerns that changes in OSAP eligibility will decrease the number of students who attain the assistance they need to complete their education. This is especially true for mature students, who under the changes to the program would be tied to their family’s income for an additional two years after leaving secondary school.

We also write to you today to empathise the important work being done by Durham College Students Inc, and all Student Associations in Ontario. We would underline that the services offered by Student Associations are essential to the health and safety of students, and must explicitly be included in the mandatory health and safety ancillary fees.

At the heart of this issue is a misunderstanding over the role of student associations in the Universities and Colleges in Ontario. We are non-profits corporations, which offer services to benefit our membership and the economy of Ontario as a whole. For example, the services we provide include:

  • Health, dental, and extended health care plan which provide comprehensive coverage to our students;
  • Outreach services including services to ensure equity seeking groups have a space on campus, and a food bank providing food security for over 2000 students annually;
  • Clubs and Societies which provide students with a co-curricular outlet for student development outside of the classroom;
  • Large scale events to promote student wellness and integration into the community;
  • Orientation week events to ensure student success from the start of their academic program;
  • An Legal Aid clinic staffed by a licensed lawyer which provide legal advice for students on a range of issues; and
  • A visual radio station which provides students an opportunity to gain critical broadcast and public speaking experience.

Other Student Associations also include services such as commercial retail operations including pubs, restaurants, and stores; safe walk, emergency response services, and sexual health resource centres to ensure student safety and wellbeing on campus.  While we appreciate that many of these services would continue under the new framework, as essential health and safety services, the services within a student association rely on a general student fee to function correctly. The lack of these services being properly funded would cause added stress to current community resources including food banks and the social assistance system.

Further, by making the ancillary fees surrounding general student governments optional, the government is ensuring that the industry cannot attract qualified professionals to manage these services. We believe that the government has expressed a genuine misunderstanding of the role of the Student Association in our educational system. To render these services optional would significantly disadvantage and endanger students, and take thousands of student jobs and millions of dollars out of the Ontario Economy.   This is significantly incongruent with the Government’s mission of being “For the People” and we would urge Her Majesty’s Government to protect student association’s fees as essential for the economic wellbeing of Ontario.

Warmest regards,

Charles Wilson, B.A. (Hons)., M.P.A.

Chairperson and Acting General Manager

Durham College Students Inc.

 

Andrew Nunez-Alverez

Managing Director

Durham College Students Inc.

 

Corrina Collette

Managing Director

Durham College Students Inc.

Author: Charles Wilson