Continuing the Push for Accessible University Data: Or what Bill 127 could have accomplished

Imagine a centralized location where current and potential post-secondary students would be able to access the admission requirements for every program in the province. Imagine a place where these people could also see the total cost of these programs, including tuition, ancillary fees, and the costs of required educational materials. Maybe this centralized location could also include some information regarding student satisfaction with all aspects of their institutions.

Does this not sound like a great idea? This is what Bill 127 could have done for our post-secondary education system.

Bill 127, the Pathways to Post-secondary Excellence Act (Post-secondary Educational Report), 2015 was a private member’s bill put forward by Etobicoke Centre MPP Yvan Baker. Bill 127 would have amended the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005, requiring HEQCO to collect and publish information in respect to higher educational institutions. I say “was,” as due to the prorogation of the Ontario Legislature all bills currently in the system have been thrown out. As such, they are going to have to be reintroduced and redebated, or never see the floor of parliament again.

Do not get me wrong, I believe the prorogation of the legislature is exciting for the government. The throne speech tasked the government with some new initiatives, allowing them to focus on developing issues that are affecting present-day Ontarians. I am just saddened that many bills, including Bill 127, had to be casualties to this process. Numerous resources have been dedicated to these bills, and the hours put into developing them, lobbying them, and getting them through the system have led to nothing being done on the issues that they were created to address.

That being said, the campaign for increased access to university data does not need to end with Bill 127’s disposal. The themes that MPP Baker described in his bill are still important and relevant to post-secondary communities. As a student myself, I cannot think of any potential student who would not find a centralized location for all of this information useful. Had I had a centralized location where I could access all of the information that the bill highlights, I would have been able to make a more educated selection of which institution I attended out of high school. In my current role, it would allow me to more adequately measure student satisfaction at Laurier, and examine ways we can work to better the student experience as we push for changes within the university.

During its lifespan, Bill 127 gained virtually all-party support in the legislature, and received backing from all of the major student associations in the province. As such, I hope that MPP Baker will choose to reintroduce this bill, or that the government will adopt it as one of their own initiatives. In the meantime, students should keep pushing for access to the important post-secondary institution information that Baker hoped all students and potential students would be able to access. Let’s make the next generation of students better informed about their institutions when they come into university.

Colin Aitchison
OUSA Steering Committee Member
Laurier Students’ Union Vice President: University Affairs

To read Bill 127, click here.