It’s often frustrating when a class gets cancelled. It’s even more frustrating when it’s not just a one-off. With ongoing strikes in Ontario, Canada, fed up students are demanding a refund for each missed day of college.
Nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition requesting that the 24 public colleges on strike in the Ontario region refund pupils for missed learning days. These strikes are currently effecting around 500,000 students.
Monday morning marked day one of the strikes, with thousands of faculty members across all 24 colleges refusing to go to work. The decision to strike follows a failure to agree on terms during contract talks between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the College Employer Council.
“This process […] has gone on since May” claimed Greg Kung, co-author of the petition. He continued to say that they aren’t showing signs of getting closer to making a deal, “so students are frustrated.”
“Students suffer the most,” claims the petition, “yet we are not part of the conversation. We lose learning. We lose time. We demand a refund.”
With this whole college strike across Ontario it just proves that money is bigger than a students future.
— Shawn Held (@held_shawn) October 11, 2017
The petition continues, claiming that “at an average tuition of $5,000 for two 13-week semesters, we [the students] are paying nearly $40/day to be in school.”
Students are asking for CA$30 (US$24) per day to be returned to full-time students for every day the strike continues, as well as CA$20 (US$16) for part-time basis students.
— krysten ♡ (@krystenrischel) October 16, 2017
Kung claimed that the vast majority of those signing the petition are currently enrolled at university.
“A lot of them are international students and domestic students alike that have paid a lot of money to go to these colleges and you know we are in a time when students are finding it very difficult to find their first job.”
To the professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians from 24 public colleges across Ontario who are on strike. #solidarity
— Melanie Mills (@msmelmills) October 17, 2017
However, many staff members wish to make it clear to students that their strikes are not about money, they are about “them”. JP Hornick, Chair of the Union bargaining team, is among these staff members and supports the students’ petition.
“I applaud the students for what they are doing in terms of the petitions, the actions they are taking, and the shows of support they have already made to us on these issues,” Hornick said.
“My message to them is we understand. This is all about them actually. We are standing up for quality and fairness in the system to ensure that they have the best education we can give them.”