Col­leges to set up fund for stu­dents

Goal to re­duce strike-re­lated hard­ships Ot­tawa

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

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 fund’s pa­ram­e­ters.

On­tario’s Labour Re­la­tions Board re­cently set dates for a vote on the Col­lege Em­ployer Coun­cil’s fi­nal of­fer to strik­ing fac­ulty — bal­lot­ing will take place on­line from Nov. 14 to 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.”

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

Al­go­nquin may ex­tend classes into De­cem­ber

If the strike af­fect­ing col­leges across On­tario ends this week, Al­go­nquin stu­dents can ex­pect a much longer fall se­mes­ter and could even lose their study week in Fe­bru­ary. Claude Brulé, the school’s Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Aca­demic, sent a let­ter to stu­dents on Fri­day to warn about ex­ten­sions to their term. He con­firmed that classes will go un­til Dec. 22 this year and will come back on Jan. 2. Fees for class orig­i­nally due on Nov. 15 have been moved back to Dec. 8. Brulé said the school doesn’t yet know when the strike will end and that plans for a Fe­bru­ary study week are not fi­nal and that time could be needed for classes. In­struc­tors will vote on a pro­posed set­tle­ment this week, but are do­ing so against their union’s rec­om­men­da­tion not to take the deal.

this is a chal­leng­ing time for ev­ery­one, but par­tic­u­larly

for stu­dents. Ad­vanced ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter

deb Matthews

The Cana­dian Press

Col­lege fac­ulty walk the picket line out­side Al­go­nquin Col­lege, in Ot­tawa on Mon­day, Oct. 16, 2017.

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