April 18, 2018
Toronto, ON - Earlier this week, the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Ontario released their official platform and Ontario students, through the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), are pleased about the commitments laid out in the party’s platform announcement.
Students are increasingly concerned about the direct and indirect costs of their education. OUSA is encouraged to see that reducing the financial stresses of education by improving financial aid programs and considering debt relief, are areas of focus. As outlined in the joint mental health report, In It Together, OUSA is happy to see there is emphasis on an integrated mental health care plan for Ontario. Furthermore, the NDP’s commitment to faculty complement renewal signals that quality of education is important in post-secondary education.
“The Ontario NDP platform is promising for undergraduate students across the province. Converting the OSAP loans into grants, and relieving debt from students is a transformative step to improve both access to post-secondary and financial relief after graduation. The promise to lift the budget freeze and increasing ongoing funding for post-secondary institutions, as well as the creation of more co-op and internship opportunities, will bring a welcomed improvement in the quality of our education,” said Ryan Deshpande, OUSA board member and McMaster University student. “At the same time, while there is a focus on mental health in the NDP platform, students want to see a focus on how our institutions and communities can get the support they need to provide effective mental health resources to students.”
Le NPD veut aussi établir une université francophone en Ontario. Tandis que OUSA est heureux que les étudiants et étudiantes francophones font parti du programme NPD, nous avertissions contre ce projet. “C'est formidable que le gouvernement donne aux francophones et francophiles de l'Ontario, mais nous sommes nerveux quant à l'effet que cela aura sur les institutions bilingues déjà existantes,” dit Roch Goulet, membre de OUSA et étudiant à L'Université Laurentian. OUSA est préoccupé par la éventualité que cette université diluera les communautés francophones aux campus bilingues et diminuera le développement économique au nord, si elle est établie à Toronto.
OUSA would also like to see more investment in eCampus Ontario to lower the cost of textbooks and relieve additional financial burdens faced by students. As of November 2017, eCampus’ Open Textbook Library has already saved students over half a million dollars.
With the provincial election coming up, OUSA is encouraging students to read through all party platforms and remain engaged voters. Earlier this year, OUSA kicked off the #StudentsVote campaign, an initiative to encourage students to Pledge to Vote in the upcoming election, to register to vote, and to head out to the polls come voting day! To follow the campaign visit us at www.ousavotes.ca or on Twitter @OUSA.
OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations a cross Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario. To achieve this vision we’ve come together to develop solutions to challenges facing higher education, build broad consensus for our policy options, and lobby government to implement them.
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance