Students at colleges and universities across Ontario will be walking out of class at noon on Wednesday in protest of the Ford government’s recent changes to OSAP. Students at least 13 postsecondary schools will participate in today’s Ontario-wide walkout, which aims to send a message to the provincial government about how college and university students really feel about the changes.
The PC government announced that they will be restructuring OSAP to provide the most assistance to low-income students. Students will also no longer benefit from a six-month interest-free grace period to pay their OSAP loans back.
The walkout is being organized by the Canadian Federation of Students. A Facebook page was created for the event which listed the schools involved in the protest, including York University, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and George Brown College.
PROVINCE-WIDE STUDENT WALK OUT!— CFS-Ontario (@CFSON) March 4, 2019
WHEN: March 20, 2019
We The Students refuse the Ontario government’s disastrous plan for post-secondary education!
For more info: https://t.co/EtKGspSuf1#wethestudents #cfsfcee #onpoli #onpse
The Federation is also armed with a list of demands from the government, which they will be addressing during the walkout. Here's the list of their demands:
- Provide More Grants NOT loans,
- Eliminate Tuition Fees for ALL Students,
- Increase Public Funding for Public Education,
- Protect Students’ Independent Voices, and
- Demand the Right to Organize.
Before Ford’s government took over, the Liberal government had aided low-income students by allowing them to attend college and university free of cost. The party also drastically increased the number of student grants. The program allowed low-income students to qualify for large grants which would cover their tuition; however, due to the new changes, part of that funding will now be a loan.
Students at the University of Toronto St. George campus are scheduled to walk out at 10:00 AM this morning. A complimentary brunch will be served to those who participate in the march through the campus.
Tensions are high, Ford’s government’s decision to scrap free tuition has many students concerned that may not be able to complete their programs if the government doesn’t rescind their proposed changes.