After five long weeks of no classes, Ontario college students will finally be returning to class this Tuesday after the province passed a back-to-work legislation that officially ended the college faculty strike.
To ensure that all students affected by the strike receive the support they deserve, the province has required colleges to create dedicated student support funds with net savings from the strike.
These support funds will go towards helping those who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the strike.
The strike affected close to 500,000 full-time students who will now be eligible to receive up to $500 for incremental unexpected costs they incurred throughout the strike. This includes additional costs such as childcare fees, rebooked train or bus tickets or January rent for both domestic and international students.
“Over the past month, I have heard from students about hardships they have experienced as a result of this strike,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
“It is clear that they have borne the brunt of this situation. That’s why we are taking these measures to ensure students have the support they need to complete their studies, and continue working towards an education that will allow them to succeed in a highly-skilled workforce.”
The province is expecting that students will be able to apply directly to their college for financial assistance through the new fund starting this week. Ontario has also made it clear that any strike-related support will not count against a student’s OSAP assessment.
Students who feel they want to fully withdraw from the semester due to the strike will be eligible to receive a full tuition refund. Those enrolled in apprentice programs can also apply for a full refund of classroom fees if they are unable to complete their in-school training for reasons related to the strike.
The support funds were determined through discussions with student leaders from the College Student Alliance. To ensure the students affected by the strike get the assistance they deserve, the province will continue to work with the students and colleges to finalize implementation plans in the coming days.