Post-secondary student services in limbo during opt-out appeal period

Pablo Tucker
November 24, 2019

Ontario's Divisional Court has unanimously sided with student groups in a legal challenge against the provincial government over the Student Choice Initiative (SCI), deeming the policy unlawful, according to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).

The case arose out of a legal challenge to the Student Choice Initiative that was launched by the York Federation of Students (YFS) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).

"I think particularly of food banks, and how they're unable to budget for the upcoming semester because of the Student Choice Initiative".

Ford also says his government would remove all of the wind turbines in the province if it had the opportunity.

". It is clear that this government is not for the students", she said at Queen's Park. Doug Ford's attempt to wipe out students" unions under the guise of giving students "choice' has been exposed for what it really was: "an attempt to silence his opposition", said Kayla Weiler, Ontario representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Students' unions are a vital part of the campus community and we will continue to work with them to advance our shared goal of fostering vibrant universities that provide accessible, quality education and innovative, ground-breaking research".

"Their actions were unlawful and now the students are suffering, the campus services are suffering", he said. Those fees included funding for student unions and many of their services, clubs, campus media, support for refugee students, and legal aid clinics.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general says the government is reviewing the court ruling. "As this matter is in the appeal period, it would be inappropriate to comment".

New Democrat MPP Chris Glover, his party's post-secondary critic, said this is yet another example of courts overturning ill-thought out Ford government's initiatives.

She said the court decision came down Thursday, so there is still plenty of time for the province to appeal the decision.

"This ruling affirms that the principles of institutional autonomy and academic freedom are fundamental to the functioning of Ontario's universities and the rights of faculty and students", said Rahul Sapra, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

Weiler of the CFS - which is mainly funded via ancillary fees by its member campuses - said student fees are there for programs that help students, and "help fill the voids".

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