This afternoon, MPP Yasir Naqvi introduced a Bill in the Ontario Legislature that would enshrine in law the right of student associations to collect and administer fees. Given the critical role that student associations play in the governance of Ontario’s colleges and universities and in providing necessary services to students, OUSA welcomes this legislation and encourages all Members of Provincial Parliament to support it.
In addition to acknowledging the right to collect fees, the Bill states that one of its purposes is “to recognize the autonomy of student associations at post-secondary educational institutions,” thus affirming that the spirit of the law includes respecting student association independence.
Speaking to the mechanics, the Bill would not affect any agreement between a student association and their institution that is currently in place or may be implemented in the future. What it does do is provide a safety net for student associations who do not have an agreement with their institution by requiring the institution to collect fees on behalf of the student association and to remit those fees in a timely manner. Currently, a disagreement between a student association and their institution can and has led to the institution refusing to collect and remit membership fees. This legislation would rightly prevent that outcome in future, promoting cooperation and providing financial stability to associations across the Province.
The Bill also aims to provide for good governance and accountability of student associations by reinforcing the requirements of the Corporations Act and the Not-For-Profit Corporations Act specifically highlighting a number of suggested areas to include in the student association’s by-laws.
Again, OUSA wishes to thank MPP Yasir Naqvi for introducing this legislation and MPP Rosario Marchese for co-sponsoring it. This is a significant step forward for Ontario’s student associations.