June was a packed month for OUSA as we presented and participated in consultation processes on the future of post-secondary education, and wrapped up a successful Strategic Planning Conference setting out short-term and long-term priorities for the organization.
Starting off the month, OUSA presented student priorities for the Ontario budget to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park. OUSA had the opportunity to speak about our recommendations to the Ontario Tuition Grant (OTG), Ontario Student Opportunity Grant (OSOG), and tuition and education tax credits. Our recommendations for these programs were also outlined in a new submission called Affording Our Future: Leveraging Ontario’s Investment in Post-Secondary Education.
OUSA also had the opportunity this month to participate in the PC Education Consultations held by MPP Lisa MacLeod, Education Critic for the Official Opposition. Student representatives spoke to the panel about the importance of early education to break down barriers and improve the transition to post-secondary education. Recommendations were made to improve financial aid literacy in elementary and secondary students, as well as ensuring all students have access to guidance counselors who have been trained to navigate the post-secondary pathways.
June was also an exciting month for OUSA as Steering Committee and Home Office discussed and set priorities for the year at our annual four-day Strategic Planning Conference in Collingwood. Through interactive and dynamic discussion sessions, our members focused to envision goals, values, and enduring principles for the organization. Sessions were held to critically analyze and plan for OUSA’s short-term and long-term advocacy priorities, as well as to gain feedback from Steering Committee on how OUSA can best serve its nine member campuses.
In the upcoming months, OUSA looks forward to actively participating in the series of conversations hosted by the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities on the innovation, quality and productivity of Ontario’s post-secondary education sector. In particular, OUSA is looking to emphasize issues relating to teaching quality, credit transfer and online education.
I am very optimistic for the months ahead as OUSA continues to strive to represent and advocate for its 150,000 students to create a truly accessibility, affordability, accountability and quality undergraduate education in Ontario.
President, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance