TW: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Hello and Happy Spooktober!!
It’s been a long and busy month since our students headed back to campus early September. Steering Committee was hard at work planning and executing our respective Orientation Week’s to welcome first-year students to our campuses. I want to first recognize that for many, the beginning of the school year did not start off how we had all anticipated. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is a serious and prevalent issue that should not be tolerated on any campus. For all those who feel frustrated or scared, to every survivor, to every student – we stand with you and we will continue to advocate for trauma-informed and survivor-centric prevention and response to this violence.
Earlier in September, we started off with news from the provincial government regarding changes to Ontario Regulation 131/16, which addresses sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) at Colleges and Universities. The government announced that it would be moving forward with regulation amendments proposed by OUSA in our Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response policy paper. Read OUSA’s press release here to learn more about these regulatory amendments and our response.
On that note, we also met with the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, to discuss OUSA’s priorities for this year and, specifically, our recommendations regarding prevention and response to SGBV. Some of these recommendations include amendments to section 17 of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities Act, as well as the provision of grant funding to community sexual health clinics to work with post-secondary institutions in providing students with information about local support services. We will continue to advocate for these asks in the coming months, and are hopeful for the changes that will come forth.
Next, we also started our “Stop OSAP Clawbacks” fall campaign a few weeks ago, calling on the provincial government to stop clawing back its contribution to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). You can learn more about the OSAP clawbacks here, and can take a look at our campaign on our Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter! You can also participate in the campaign by using this email template to call on your MPP to advocate against these clawbacks.
With the business of September, it’s sometimes wild to remember that an election also happened! The federal election wrapped up in late September with the Liberals forming another minority government. Shoutout to every student who voted for the first time, stood in line for hours, or convinced friends/roommates to vote! The youth vote is crucial to our democracy and it’s important to exercise our democratic rights as students and have our voices heard. Our very own Steering Committee member, Siobhan, wrote a blog about the role of young people in Canada’s 2021 federal election which you can read here!
Looking forward from here, with the House sitting again and the Throne Speech this past Monday, October 4th, we are looking forward to more conversations amongst our elected representatives in the Legislature. We are also gearing up for our Fall General Assembly, which takes place this month from October 28th to 31st. I’m excited to discuss and debate some important policies with other student leaders from our member schools!
That’s all from me for this update!
Until next time :)