CSA IN THE NEWS

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April 12, 2022

'Missed opportunity': Budget 2022 gets lukewarm reviews from student grou

This week CSA's General Manager and Director of Advocacy spoke with CTV News and 580 CFRA Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts about the mixed reaction to the Federal Government's recent budget. While CSA welcomes some of the broader budget elements related to life affordability, such as housing and dental care, we are disappointed in the lack of direct measures related to post-secondary education affordability, workforce entry, international students, and mental health.

 

To read the whole article click here.

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March 17, 2022

Humber student leaders monitor college labour impasse

Student leaders are speaking up as the threat of an Ontario college faculty strike grows.

Faculty, counsellors and librarians represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union are set to strike on Friday if the College Employer Council, which represents the colleges, do not enter into arbitration.

“The college faculty has said they would like to do arbitration and they’re willing to return to the negotiating table,” said Jason Baryluk, College Student Alliance, general manager.

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March 17, 2022

Confederation College student union says continued job action puts students' futures on the line

The student union also joined the College Student Alliance in issuing an open letter to Ontario's Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop, on behalf of all Ontario's students.

On Tuesday, the alliance said providing immediate stability to the college sector is paramount for Ontario's college students, and adds college students are vital to the province's economic recovery.

"[The College Student Alliance] believes everyone has the right to fair compensation for work provided and those working conditions should be fair and equitable," the letter reads.

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March 17, 2022

College bargaining teams back at the table Thursday

After the strike deadline was imposed, the College Student Alliance called on the government to act to avoid a strike, writing, "the pandemic has been incredibly hard on college students, from impacting their finances to their mental health, a return to stability and normalcy is critical."

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March 17, 2022

Announcement of Strike Deadline

Student groups support our position that binding interest arbitration can bring an immediate end to this impasse. The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario wrote that “the CEC has continuously refused binding arbitration, demonstrating to workers and students that the CEC only has their own interests at heart – not the interests of instructors, professors, counsellors, librarians, and especially not students”.  As well, the College Student Alliance, “the only college student-focused advocacy group in Ontario”, has announced that “Interest Arbitration is the best solution that puts college students first”.

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March 16, 2022

Ontario colleges could strike on Friday. Here's what that means

The College Student Alliance (CSA) is calling on the province to step in now ahead of a possible strike.

"Students should be the priority during this process. CSA encourages college faculty and the colleges themselves to come back to the table and negotiate to avoid a strike," said Eli Ridder, President of the CSA in an emailed statement to the Star on Tuesday.

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March 16, 2022

Ontario colleges could strike on Friday. Here's what that means

The College Student Alliance, a non-profit advocating for college students in Ontario, welcomed both sides returning to the bargaining table.

"Ontario's college students have endured significant hardship throughout the pandemic already and both sides have a responsibility to provide stability to them," the organization wrote in a tweet.

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March 16, 2022

Ontario colleges and staff return to bargaining table as strike looms

The College Student Alliance, a non-profit advocating for college students in Ontario, welcomed both sides returning to the bargaining table.

 

“Ontario’s college students have endured significant hardship throughout the pandemic already and both sides have a responsibility to provide stability to them,” the organization wrote in a tweet.

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March 15, 2022

Mask on or mask off? Northern Ontario schools take different approach to mask mandates

Northern College's announcement came as a bit of a surprise for Jason Baryluk, the interim general manager of the College Student Alliance, a province-wide group representing Ontario's college students.

"It's an interesting move," Baryluk said. "The administration is within their power to do this, certainly. But we need to do the right thing here."

"And I think masking is a low-cost, easy mitigation strategy for us to keep each other safe, especially if we're having a full return to campus."

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March 14, 2022

Post-secondary students worried about future employment after graduation

Post-secondary graduates seeking employment in their field are struggling to find jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic era, which has become an even more trying time.

“If you were a recent graduate, if I was a recent graduate, I’d be significantly concerned about not only my job prospects, but whether even if I get a job, will I be able to sustain myself?” said Jason Baryluk General Manager for the College Student Alliance.

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March 8, 2022

University and college students call for free menstrual products on campus

In a bid to end ‘period poverty,’ students are calling on the province to require that colleges and universities provide free menstrual products campus wide — and that the government foot the bill if schools can’t cover the costs.
 

Also there to show support were representatives of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the College Student Alliance. They, along with all of Ontario’s 44 post-secondary student unions, and others, have penned a letter to the provincial government calling for “immediate action” on this issue.

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March 8, 2022

Student and youth groups call for free menstrual products on post-secondary campuses

Student unions and youth advocacy groups across Ontario are calling on the provincial government to ensure free menstrual products are made available on all post-secondary campuses.

The initiative aims to tackle menstrual inequity and period poverty.

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March 8, 2022

Youth Collective calls for Ontario to require free menstrual products on campus

The Youth Cabinet along with the commissioner say the province’s initiatives should also address “the needs of transgender men and gender non-binary people as well.”

“When we’re thinking about the number of people who are impacted by this, we also have to consider trans men, non-binary, and people of diverse gender identities,” said Gabi Hentschke, Director of College Student Alliance. “But so far, the data largely available, does not account for such identities yet.”

College Students

December 12, 2021

Ontario college faculty vote in favour of labour action

"College faculty members across Ontario, including Conestoga College, have voted in favour of labour action. OPSEU/SEFPO, the union representing faculty, said 59 per cent of members who voted in a strike vote on Saturday called for action related to contract demands.

They were part of Ontario College Faculty, which represents 15,000 professors, counsellors, librarians and instructor. Jason Baryluk, director of advocacy at the College Student Alliance, said faculty doesn't intend to strike, but instead to begin action with a work-to-rule campaign."

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December 12, 2021

GM Participates in CBC Media Tour Discussing Bargaining

Over the past weekend CSA General Manager and Director of Advocacy Jason Baryluk participated in a series of media interviews with CBC Radio across Ontario discussing the current situation between OPSEU Faculty and the College Employers Council (CEC). Beyond explaining some of the context around the current situation Jason highlighted that it was critical that if OPSEU Faculty and the CEC cannot negotiate, they must come back to the table and engage in fair and neutral interest arbitration that would ensure stability for college students who have already faced serious challenges throughout the pandemic.

 

To read an excerpt from the interviews click here.

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December 12, 2021

Ontario college faculty vote in favour of labour action

"College faculty members across Ontario, including Conestoga College, have voted in favour of labour action. OPSEU/SEFPO, the union representing faculty, said 59 per cent of members who voted in a strike vote on Saturday called for action related to contract demands.

They were part of Ontario College Faculty, which represents 15,000 professors, counsellors, librarians and instructor. Jason Baryluk, director of advocacy at the College Student Alliance, said faculty doesn't intend to strike, but instead to begin action with a work-to-rule campaign."

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December 10, 2021

IGNITE interviews Jason Baryluk, the Director of Advocacy at College Student Alliance

"Maybe you’ve seen something in the news, read an article or have started to hear rumblings at school about a potential college faculty strike. We want to ensure you have up-to-date and accurate information regarding the on-going bargaining process occurring between the College Employer's Council and the Ontario Public Service Employer's Union. That's why we sat down with Jason Baryluk, the Director of Advocacy at College Student Alliance to discuss the situation and explain what's really going on so that YOU can stay informed.”

Graduation Day

October 22, 2021

Queen's Park Moves To Let Ontario Colleges Expand Degree Programs

"College leaders in Ontario have applauded the provincial government’s proposed measures to let them expand degree-granting programs, but a student organization says affordability, housing and mental health still need vastly increased support.”

Ottawa

October 15, 2021

Ontario's Throne Speech Silent on Post-Secondary Education

"For post-secondary campuses around Ontario, the recent throne speech by the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford to open the new legislature session offered sounds of silence.”

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April 13, 2021

Humber's IGNITE Joins College Student Alliance

"Humber’s student government IGNITE joined the College Student Alliance (CSA) on April 1.

The CSA is a non-profit organization advocating for post-secondary students on the provincial level. Student unions are not allowed to go to the provincial government by themselves, so CSA meets with individual student unions and the government to allow their voices to be heard.

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February 1, 2021

Students call for freeze on OSAP payments as pandemic rages on

"The current students and recent graduates of Ontario are the future of the economy. We will be the ones responsible for helping rebuild Ontario when the COVID-19 pandemic is over,” said College Student Alliance President Tori Arnett during the press conference. “We need help to survive this most trying time — we can’t do it on our own. Our families won’t be able to make it through this without the provincial government’s help.”

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January 22, 2021

CSA participates in a press conference on the need for an OSAP moratorium

Today, CSA President Tori Arnett joined Chris Glover MPP, Spadina-Fort York and post-secondary stakeholders in a press conference calling on the Government of Ontario to stop OSAP debt repayment during the pandemic.

September 10, 2020

National Observer: How student unions are helping campus life go digital

The College Student Alliance has submitted recommendations for digital learning standards to the provincial government, said Jason Baryluk, director of advocacy and member engagement. “Students are in a very precarious situation and that kind of financial insecurity reverberates through to the rest of the institution,” he said.

September 04, 2020

Standard-Freeholder: SLC student union president lobbies for more assistance to students

The president of St. Lawrence College’s Cornwall campus student union recently called on the provincial government to provide $1,000 to full-time post-secondary students and $500 for part-time students. Tori Arnett, who is also president of the College Student Alliance, said the request comes after what she said were tough times for students. “Students are struggling right now,” said Arnett. “With the pandemic, OSAP funds are being cut, it’s ridiculous. Students need help and the government needs to understand this — they need to step up.

September 01, 2020

St. Catharines Standard: College and university students want $1,000 in tuition relief to offset the impact of COVID-19

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, along with the Canadian Federation of Students and the College Student Alliance are asking that part-time students also receive a rebate of $500, and that federal pandemic-related emergency benefits for students not be used to calculate provincial student loan amounts.

September 18, 2018

The Dialog: No room for compromise

Post-secondary institutions enable opportunities for thought and discussion, diversifying the academic experience outside of the classroom. However, the mandated introduction of a free speech policy in Ontario’s post-secondary system omitted those directly affected by this policy—post-secondary students. Student leaders, specifically members of on-campus student associations, must be meaningfully involved throughout the policy development process and in the subsequent conversations regarding recommendations to improve the policies.

June 04, 2018

CTV Toronto: ‘We are not apathetic’: 3.5 million voters in the Ontario election are under 25

According to the most recent census, there are over 3.5 million Ontario residents – and potential voters --between the ages of 18 and 25. This age group, once called apathetic, is now a driving force in politics. As seen in the 2015 federal elections, where 57.1 per cent of youth showed up to the polls, young people can make or break a campaign. This surge in political participation was an 18.3 percentage point increase from the 2011 federal elections.

April 13, 2018

The Dialog: Budget doesn’t improve on OSAP: student group

Budget 2018, does have language to reduce the contributions that spouses and parents of students are expected to make towards tuition. While not yet clear on details, the government said the change will allow for students from middle‐income families to more easily qualify for OSAP grants and loans. Abdullah Mushtaq, director of advocacy for the College Student Alliance (CSA), said that what was announced for OSAP in the 2018 budget, “is basically what was already said in 2016 and 2017” and that the new piece is how parental and spousal income is going to be less of a factor.

April 06, 2018

Ontario Newsroom: Ontario Supporting Success of College Students, Faculty and Staff

The College Task Force will develop a forward-looking plan that supports the delivery of high-quality career-focused postsecondary education and training through Ontario's publicly assisted colleges. College Student Alliance has two representatives on the Task Force: Abdullah Mushtaq and Aimee Calma.

March 21, 2018

The Gazette: Ontario government to invest $2.1 billion in mental health

According to Tulk, OUSA partnered with the College Student Alliance, Colleges Ontario and Council of Ontario Universities to release a joint publication outlining mental health issues and recommendations. Published last November, Tulk said a number of the recommendations were implemented in the Ontario government’s mental health investment plans. For example, Ontario will be looking into mental health transition programming for high school students going on to post-secondary education. Further, the government will ensure that students continue to have support available in university.

March 19, 2018

The Dialog: Help wanted: find your summer job

For students, finding that particular job and then actually getting it are two different challenges. Networking helps in both aspects. Some reports estimate anywhere between 60 and 80 per cent of all summer jobs are on the hidden market, meaning they’re never advertised. Turning to those around you, whether it’s friends or even past co-workers, is always a solid plan. “Keeping those connections warm, reaching out if you know someone who worked for the field that you might like, just to reach out and say “Hi” and see what’s going on,” said Aimee Calma, president of the College Student Alliance. If reaching out feels a little awkward, Calma said it’s important to reframe how you see you networking.

March 07, 2018

The Dialog: What’s in the federal budget for students?

The federal budget, which was released on Feb. 27, offers several new funding opportunities for post-secondary students, as well as measures to address gender-based violence on campus. 

January 23, 2018

CBC News: Confederation College celebrates $59K contribution to United Way

"At Confederation College it's clear we have big hearts and believe in building a positive community culture," said Jodi Alfonso, President of the Student Union. She also stated that this year's partnership between the student union and Confederation College has earned them provincial recognition from the College Student Alliance (CSA) as they were given the Landmark Award.

December 12, 2017

The Globe and Mail: Ten per cent of Ontario college students withdraw from semester following strike

"The withdraw numbers released today are proof this option was necessary for thousands of students. Students didn't sign up for an extended semester, or condensed courses," said Emmaline Scharbach, the communications manager for the College Student Alliance.

December 12, 2017

Toronto Star: Ten per cent of college students drop out after teachers’ strike

Ten per cent of full-time college students — or about 25,700 — have dropped out rather than return to class following a lengthy strike by their teachers. And even though “the vast majority … chose to stay and finish the semester,” post-secondary Minister Deb Matthews said for those “who did decide to withdraw, we hope you return to college.

November 29, 2017

The Cord: Student groups create collaborative report to enhance student mental health

A collaborative report, In It Together: Taking Action on Student Mental Health, was recently released as a call to the Province for greater action regarding the challenges and difficulties pertaining to mental health which continues to increase among students in Ontario.

November 28, 2017

The Globe and Mail: Ontario college strike could cost some students places in programs

College students could lose their entire academic year and not get back into the programs in which they are currently enrolled if they drop courses as a result of the five-week strike in Ontario this fall, students across the province are being told by their colleges.

November 24, 2017

Toronto Star: College students missing crucial entrance exams, apprenticeships dates because of strike, critics say

From career entrance exams to required hands-on training, Ontario college students are left struggling to catch up after a five-week strike by faculty that has forced semesters to be extended to make up for lost time.

November 23, 2017

City News: Ottawa offers options to international students after college strike

Ontario’s college students may be back in the classrooms after a record breaking five-week strike but, for some, there’s still some uncertainty over their future. An international student attending Humber College told CityNews the school’s latest email was putting her in a difficult position. Part of that email she shared, read “If you withdraw, we recommend that you leave Canada.”

November 22, 2017

The Dialog: Ontario post-secondary students need free mental health care: report

A new report is pushing the Ontario government to provide free mental health care for post-secondary students.

The In It Together report which was supported by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Colleges Ontario, Council of Ontario Universities, and the College Student Alliance (CSA) makes 26 recommendations including that the province formally recognize post-secondary students as a priority group, separate from children, youth and adults.“We need to have the government recognize post-secondary students as their own population,” said Ariana Chasse, vice-president of the CSA.

November 21, 2017

Breakfast Television: College students are going back to school today

Dir. of Advocacy for the College Student Alliance, Abdullah Mushtaq has all the details about the end of the strike. Students have two weeks to decide if they to cancel their semester and get a refund.

November 20, 2017

CP24: Students who withdraw from college due to strike will get full tuition refund: province

The province has announced that full-time Ontario college students who decide to withdraw from school as a result of the five-week faculty strike will be given a full tuition refund. The announcement was made by the Ontario government on Monday morning.

November 20, 2017

CBC News: Conestoga College students to be back in class Tuesday morning

Conestoga College students will be back in the classroom Tuesday morning after the provincial government passed back-to-work legislation Sunday to end a five-week faculty strike. The government introduced the bill Friday after faculty rejected the employer's last offer by 86 per cent. 

November 20, 2017

The Globe and Mail: Back-to-work bill passes, sending Ontario college faculty back to class Tuesday

College students in Ontario will head back to class on Tuesday after the provincial government passed back-to-work legislation ending a five-week-long strike by professors. The law, which came into force on Sunday after rare weekend sittings of the legislature, marks the first time in the 50-year-history of the province's colleges that striking faculty have been forced back to work. The bill passed third reading in a 39-18 vote, supported by the Liberals and Tories and opposed by the New Democrats.

November 19, 2017

Macleans: Bill to end five-week ontario college strike passes

Ontario legislated college faculty back to work on Sunday, ending a five-week strike and paving the way for students to return to class on Tuesday. Colleges are extending their semesters so students don’t lose their terms, but trying to condense five missed weeks into roughly two extra ones will be very stressful, student advocates say.

“It’s going to be a very busy rest of the semester for students,” said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance. “They have indicated to us that they are very frustrated.”

November 19, 2017

Toronto Star: College students back in class Tuesday after MPPs order end strike

After three days of delays, Liberal government and Progressive Conservative MPPs joined forces Sunday to order 12,000 striking college teachers — and their students — back to class over NDP objections. Faculty report for work Monday and 500,000 students follow Tuesday to jump-start a semester stalled five weeks ago by what became the longest college strike in Ontario history.

November 19, 2017

CTV News: Back-to-work legislation ends five-week Ontario college strike

Ontario legislated college faculty back to work on Sunday, ending a five-week strike and paving the way for students to return to class on Tuesday. Colleges are extending their semesters so students don't lose their terms, but trying to condense five missed weeks into roughly two extra ones will be very stressful, student advocates say.

"It's going to be a very busy rest of the semester for students," said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance. "They have indicated to us that they are very frustrated."

November 19, 2017

The Dialog: College faculty strike ends as back to work legislation passes

Legislation to force Ontario college faculty back into their classrooms passed today, with a vote of 39-18, ending the strike that began on Oct. 16. The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act was introduced by the government on Nov. 16 after talks between the bargaining teams of the faculty and colleges did not produce a deal. The legislation prohibits a continuation of the strike or an employer lockout while the two sides go through binding arbitration.

November 17, 2017

Renfrew Today: College Student Alliance Weighs In on Strike After NDP Blocks Back To Work Legislation

College students won’t be back in classrooms as soon as they may have hoped. After the College Employer Council imposed a forced vote on the latest contract offer, 86 per cent of voters rejected the contract, and 95 per cent of those registered, came out to cast a ballot. President of the College Student Alliance, Joel Willett, says stories keep piling in about students who won’t be returning after the break, or students facing roadblocks due to the strike.

November 16, 2017

CTV Your Morning: Students frustrated over Ontario college strike

The president of a student-led advocacy group, College Student Alliance, tells us why the strike is striking a nerve with students.

November 14, 2017

CP24: Striking Ontario college teachers begin voting on contract offer today

Striking Ontario college teachers will begin voting today on a contract offer that, if accepted, could send about 500,000 students back to the classroom as early as next Tuesday.

November 11, 2017

Sudbury Star: Colleges ordered to set fund for students

Matthews said she has met with student leaders from the College Student Alliance for advice. "I'm looking for the best ideas about how to make sure this reinvestment directly benefits students who have faced hardship."

November 10, 2017

The Dialog: Government orders colleges to create hardship fund for students

This announcement comes a day after a meeting with the College Student Alliance (CSA), who represents approximately 97,000 college students in Ontario at 13 different student associations. “We understand that this isn’t going to be a solution that will fix all the problems that this strike has caused and we are still encouraging the college employer council and OPSEU to get back to the table, agree to binding arbitration, and get a deal done this weekend,” said CSA.

November 10, 2017

CP24: Fund to be set up for students facing ‘financial hardship’ during college strike

On Thursday, president of the College Student Alliance Joel Willet told CP24 that students are becoming increasingly anxious about how they will complete this semester. “Everybody did say we are expecting to be out three weeks roughly and then we should expect a settlement, but as this continues to drag on with only really one major issue on the table, it’s become just overwhelming for students,” Willet said.

November 10, 2017

Ottawa Citizen: Money that colleges save during the faculty strike will go to students hurt by dispute, says Ontario minister

Ontario colleges will have to put all the money they are saving during the faculty strike into a fund to help students who are being hurt by it, says Deb Matthews, the minister for Advanced Education and Skills Development.

November 10, 2017

Nugget.ca: 'Students have been in the middle of this strike for too long and it's just not fair'

Ontario colleges are being required to establish a dedicated fund with all savings from the strike to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the job action, Deb Matthews, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, announced today.

November 09, 2017

CP24 Breakfast: Student strike causing 'anxiety,' students say

Centennial College Student Association Inc. Board member Lovey and CSA President Joel Willett speak with CP24 Breakfast about how the ongoing faculty strike is negatively impacting students in Ontario.

November 01, 2017

National Post: Talks to resume Thursday in Ontario college strike, minister says: 'Students should be back in the classroom'

Several hundred students gathered at the Ontario legislature Wednesday to urge the parties to get back to the table. But Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance, which organized the demonstration, said their message shifted when they discovered talks will resume.

 

“Now the pressure is on to get a deal done before the middle of next week,” he said. “If they don’t have a deal in place by the middle of next week then we would … demand that an arbitrator be brought in to make a deal happen.”

November 01, 2017

CP24: Colleges, faculty resume bargaining amid strike

Watch as CSA's Director of Advocacy, Abdullah Mushtaq, speak with CP24 Live at Noon about CSA's #StudentsFirst Rally.

November 01, 2017

Breakfast Television Toronto: Student rally planned at Queen’s Park today