TORONTO, September 23, 2016 - The Premier’s mandate letter to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) offers encouragement to students and signals that the government is ready to move forward on a number of issues that students have been raising.
Members of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) are especially excited by the instruction to create a permanent student advisory council to the Minister that will allow students to share their priorities and provide advice on a variety of topics. “OUSA looks forward to helping make this body a constructive and effective platform for student voices,” said OUSA President, Jamie Cleary.
The letter also tasks MAESD with continuing the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy, a set of recommendations that OUSA students helped develop through consultations with the Premier’s Expert Panel last year. Ensuring that all university students have access to experiential learning opportunities and providing workplace transition support for underrepresented groups will be particularly beneficial.
The call to establish a central data system for employment and other labour market information is another success for OUSA students. “The need for centralized, accessible, and publicly available data throughout the sector is an issue that we’ve been raising,” said Cleary. “Better information is needed to inform government and student decisions, and it’s encouraging to see the Ministry moving in that direction on employment outcomes.”
Other promising initiatives discussed in the letter include improving mental health service on campus, additional support for Indigenous students, and continuing to facilitate student choice and mobility through the Ontario Council for Articulation and Transfer.
OUSA is enthusiastic about the momentum its lobbying efforts have had and the extent to which student priorities are reflected in this letter. OUSA members look forward to staying engaged and lending assistance as these recommendations are implemented.
To read the mandate letter, click here.