March 14, 2023
OUSA Returns with “Stop OSAP Clawbacks: Housing Edition” Campaign Ahead of 2023 Budget
TORONTO - On March 13th, 2023, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) launched its spring 2023 campaign, the housing edition of OUSA’s fall 2021 Stop OSAP Clawbacks campaign. For three years, OUSA has been demanding the prevention of the Ontario government’s annual $400 million clawback from the provincial portion of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), and the reinvestment of what is now $1.2 billion in savings back into OSAP.
“Students across the province continue to rely on OSAP to help fund their post-secondary education,” said Jessica Look, OUSA President and Vice-President External Affairs at the University Students’ Council at Western University. “Following the pandemic, students are confronting record high costs of living and unemployment rates, which further exacerbate issues of affordability.”
Ontario’s university students currently contribute two times more to university operating budgets than the provincial government. While the extension of the tuition freeze, which began in 2020-21, is extremely welcome, it cannot alone combat the impacts of a recession on Ontario’s economy. Without increased financial support from the provincial government, institutions raise international student fees and recruit more international students to fund their budgets. And as more international students arrive on campus, municipalities struggle to provide sufficient and affordable housing to these very students.*
“Not only is this overreliance on international student tuition unsustainable for the post-secondary sector, but it is also unsustainable for the province’s housing sector,” reported Octavia Andrade-Dixon, Research and Policy Analyst at the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. “Numerous reports highlight that landlords are exploiting international students due to a lack of housing options, as well as language barriers and knowledge gaps regarding tenant rights. Without adequate investments from the province across sectors, both domestic and international students are put into precarious positions in all aspects of their lives.”
Students are now paying 25% more for housing than the average Canadian renter. OSAP may be just one piece of the affordability puzzle, but it is a big one. Thus OUSA is once again asking the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to:
- Stop OSAP clawbacks as a result of increased federal funding through Canada Student Grants; and
- Invest any savings generated by the doubling of Canada Student Grants back into OSAP to provide more direct support for students who need it most.
Students from OUSA member schools can support OUSA’s call by participating in the campaign giveaway to tell the Ministry of Colleges and Universities that all students have eyes on Ontario’s 2023 budget announcement in April. Visit OUSA’s Instagram (@ousahome) and enter now for the chance to win one of three $200 gift cards to the grocery store. You can follow the campaign and updates on OUSA’s Instagram or Twitter at @ousahome.
*From “The Hunt for Affordable Housing” (Shemar Hackett) in Habitats (2022).
About: 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.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance