On Sunday, the Ontario PC Party unveiled its platform for the 2011 provincial election. Leader Tim Hudak released changebook, the Party’s vision for the future of the province.
Students were heartened that post-secondary education was a component of this vision, and the Party announced some specific commitments of interest to university students:
- Raising the threshold on student financial assistance to make it more accessible for middle-class families;
- The creation of up to 60,000 new spaces at Ontario universities and colleges;
- Having institutions compete for enrolment growth and find new ways to ensure access, affordability and excellence;
- Greater coordination and cooperation between universities and colleges, specifically through new credit transfer pathways;
- Cancelling the Ontario Trillium Scholarship program for international PhD students, and redirecting the funds to domestic student assistance.
The continued commitment to growth in the post-secondary sector and to improving student mobility between institutions is wholly welcomed by students. Additionally, raising assistance thresholds will open up OSAP to more students and increase aid for all students currently receiving assistance. This is good news for students who are facing rising costs and an uncertain summer labour market.
Moving forward to the Ontario election on October 6th, students are looking forward to a vigorous and thoughtful debate between all of the parties on post-secondary education. OUSA will be working hard leading up to the vote to ensure that all students have access to information both on how to vote and on what the parties are running on. Students are happy to receive the Ontario PC Party’s initial contribution to this critical provincial conversation.