December 4, 2020
OUSA releases policy paper titled “Housing, Transit, & Community Development”
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the third policy paper passed by OUSA’s Fall 2020 General Assembly, Housing, Transit, & Community Development. The paper was written, approved, and published by students to provide recommendations in response to the concerns that students face in their communities.
"Students are often overlooked or underappreciated when it comes to municipal issues,” said Julia Pereira, Vice President University Affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union and OUSA President. "And while students face unique challenges, they also share experiences with their neighbours and offer a unique perspective that is important for developing solutions for stronger communities for everyone."
The paper identifies a number of student concerns that impact their ability to live, work, and study safely and comfortably, and to develop positive relationships with their communities. These include student concerns around housing, including access to quality and affordable housing, a lack of education and information about rental housing and tenant rights, and gaps in provincial legislation and dispute resolution pathways raise concerns for students about rental housing. Student concerns around accessibility and affordability of transit are also raised, along with barriers to community engagement and safety as a result of discriminatory by-law enforcement that leaves students unfairly targeted and hinders their ability to feel a sense of belonging and build positive relationships with their communities.
In response to these concerns, students have proposed a number of recommendations that they believe the provincial government should adopt to ensure municipalities are able to meet the needs of all residents, including students, and to foster strong, positive relationships between universities and their municipalities. Broadly, students are asking for guidance and investments to improve the rental experiences of students, enhancements to inter-regional and local transit, and support for community development initiatives to enhance safety and belonging.
"Access to rental housing is an essential need for many students, yet the Residential Tenancies Act and dealing with the Landlord and Tenant Board can be daunting and inaccessible,” said Mackenzy Metcalfe, Vice President External Affairs for the Western University Students’ Council and OUSA VP Finance. “This is why we’ve developed recommendations to ensure housing supports meet the needs of students and other renters across Ontario.”
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s membership schools. It was passed on November 1st, 2020 at OUSA’s Fall General Assembly, held virtually. To read it, click here.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Communications & Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance