NEWS RELEASES

April 16th, 2021

Student organizations across the country release a joint publication on supporting students during and after COVID-19

TORONTO, ON – After a year of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ten student organizations across Canada have released Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Supporting Students During and After COVID-19.

 

“I am proud to report that CSA has been working harmoniously with other student advocacy groups across the country to put together this document that outlines key issues that students are facing today,” says CSA President, Tori Arnett. “This is an ongoing collaborative project that we are honored to be a part of.”

 

This publication looks at how governments, institutions, and higher-education stakeholders can better support students and recent graduates as Canada responds to and recovers from COVID-19. Post-secondary students across Canada share their perspectives on issues facing the sector, including student mental health, quality of online learning, student financial aid, and support for marginalized students. 

 

Shared Perspectives includes contributions from: 

  • the Alliance of BC Students (ABCS):

  • the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA): 

  • the College Student Alliance (CSA):

  • the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS): 

  • the Manitoba Alliance of Post-Secondary Students (MAPSS): 

  • the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA): 

  • the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA): 

  • Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS):

  • l’Union étudiante du Québec (UEQ): and 

  • the University of Prince Edward Island Student Union (UPEISU). 

 

Shared Perspectives highlights the unique challenges post-secondary students have faced while navigating COVID-19 on both a national and provincial level. It draws upon students’ experiences with remote learning and emphasizes the need for all students, across Canada, to have access to high-quality post-secondary education and receive the support they require to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Students urge the federal and provincial governments to provide targeted supports to students and recent graduates so they can contribute to the long-term economic recovery of the country. Students and recent graduates will play an important role in Canada’s economy and society post-pandemic, so federal and provincial governments must invest in them now. 

 

Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Supporting Students During and After COVID-19 is a joint report from ten partners, representing over 600,000 students. To view the full report, visit CSA’s website at collegestudentalliance.ca.

 

 

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About College Student Alliance:  

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.  

 

Contact:   

Jason Baryluk (he/ him) 

Interim General Manager 

College Student Alliance 

E: advocacy@collegestudentalliance.ca 

C: 647-888-6922

March 24th, 2021

Ontario’s College Students Need Support to be Part of Provincial Recovery

TORONTO, ON – One year into the pandemic, college students are still in need of essential support from the Government of Ontario. This afternoon, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, presented the 2021 Ontario Budget that outlined the government’s investments for this coming year. While the College Student Alliance (CSA) understands that this year’s budget is focused on health care it lacks new and direct measures to assist college students.

“We certainly appreciate the funding the government has provided, especially in mental health,” said Tori Arnett, President of CSA, “The government needs to address the systemic issues in the post-secondary sector; that means providing the funding that makes our institutions public again and no longer publicly-assisted.”

The government announced four specific commitments towards post-secondary students, OSAP funding for Micro-credentials, virtual learning funding, a commitment to the existing investments into mental health, and institutional infrastructure funding. CSA appreciates that the government has acknowledged the challenges in re-training, mental health, and quality of education; but more needs to be done to provide immediate support to college students.

CSA would welcome new funding in the area of post-secondary mental health and would encourage increased annual funding health to ensure students’ mental health needs are met past the pandemic. As well, CSA is hopeful that the government will continue to increase the annual funding received by post-secondary institutions to promote the financial sustainability of the post-secondary sector and affordable tuition for international students. Most importantly, as student financial struggles continue to rise, CSA would encourage new funding in the area of expanded OSAP grants, especially for Indigenous students.

College students will be an integral part of Ontario’s post-pandemic recovery, the government must give them the assistance to accomplish this. A skilled student population with the required support to successfully graduate and enter the workforce is essential in the rebuilding of our province. If enacted, CSA’s recommendations will help to ensure that college students are adequately supported to complete their programs and contribute to a brighter future for Ontario.

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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.

Contact:

Jason Baryluk (he/ him)
Interim General Manager
College Student Alliance
E: advocacy@collegestudentalliance.ca C: 647-888-6922

January 28th, 2021

CSA applauds the Ontario Government in strengthening sexual violence and harassment policies at post-secondary institutions

TORONTO, ON ​- The Government of Ontario announced amendments to Regulation 131/16 that will strengthen sexual violence policies at post-secondary institutions to better protect survivors of sexual violence

CSA is delighted to see the need for survivor-centric sexual violence policies addressed at post-secondary institutions, with the recent amendments to Regulation 131/16. This regulation stipulates that all postsecondary institutions have a sexual violence policy in place, however ​institutional policies often differ fundamentally, which provides room for insufficiencies, loopholes, and reporting errors.

Inadequacies in sexual violence policies can make survivors of sexual violence more vulnerable, prevent access to supports for survivors with specific needs, and make the reporting process more difficult. The recent amendments provide additional safeguards will be enforced at all postsecondary institutions in Ontario.

In previous government submissions, CSA has highlighted the ​need for further government oversight from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that all sexual violence prevention policies at institutions are comprehensive and effective,​ and do not cause further harm or retraumatization.

CSA is hopeful that these changes will spark further dialogue on how sexual violence policies can more effectively address the needs of students through a survivor-centric and intersectional lens. Future policy amendments should continue to draw from consultation with student groups and experts in the area of gender-based violence, such as the national initiative Courage to Act. Future improvements could include:

  • Mandatory sexual violence training for decision-makers or investigators.

  • Protections from face-to-face encounters.

  • Clearly defined rights of those affected by gender-based violence with survivor-centric measures in

    place.

  • Anonymous or third-party reporting.

     

For further information on the amendments to Regulation 131/16 and how to be involved in consultations, follow this link: ​https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?language=fr&postingId=35987

December 14th, 2020

CSA applauds the government’s investment in a Virtual Learning Strategy for Post-Secondary Education

TORONTO, ON - The Government announced a $50 million investment into a Virtual Learning Strategy that will enhance virtual learning at Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes and will improve the virtual learning experience for Ontario’s students. 

 

"The College Student Alliance is pleased to hear the government's acknowledgement and commitment to change the issues that students are facing as we forge a new path with an on-line modality of learning in the post-secondary sector,” says CSA President, Tori Arnett. “It's a great start to be able to formulate new plans, programming and initiatives for students to be able to get the most out of their college experience."

 

The quick pivot to virtual learning when the pandemic first began was wrought with logistical issues and a decreased quality of learning that left many students dissatisfied and unable to fully participate in their classes. Since then, additional planning and resources have improved the online learning experience, which has now become the new normal for students.

 

Despite these improvements, challenges remain. Students are still struggling to learn within a modality that is not their preferred learning style, with decreased interaction with teachers and peers. This is why CSA is grateful to see an investment into a Virtual Learning Strategy that will improve the virtual learning experience for students and help them succeed in their academic careers. 

 

This past August, CSA participated in a consultation with the Ministry of College and Universities on Virtual Learning. CSA brought several ideas to the table on how virtual learning could be improved to benefit students, which included assistive supports for students with disabilities and open access reading materials. CSA recommended that the provincial government create standards for virtual-hybrid course delivery at colleges and provide resources to develop institutional expertise and faculty education in virtual delivery that would help advance high quality virtual education at Ontario colleges. 

 

We are delighted to see this recommendation acknowledged, and we are hopeful that this strategy will address the specific learning needs of students with disabilities, mature students, Indigenous students, international students, and students in rural and remote areas. “The CSA looks forward to seeing more help from the provincial government to assist the continually struggling college students of Ontario,” says Arnett.

 

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About College Student Alliance:  

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.  

 

Contact:   

Jason Baryluk 

Interim General Manager

advocacy@collegestudentalliance.ca 

C: 647-888-6922