The Green Party of Ontario, led by Mike Schreiner, is committed to addressing several issues on Ontario college campuses. Their priorities align with CSA priorities like mental health, tuition costs, and food security on campus.
In alignment with our election priorities and our mental health paper, In It Together, the Green Party of Ontario recognizes that access to post-secondary for students is related to how much education costs, what types of financial supports are available, how well institutions are funded, and the strength of supports on campus, from mental health to food security.
Though CSA is excited about the commitment of increased mental health workers on campus provided in an inclusive manner, this cannot be the only solution. Having an integrated community approach that includes off-campus supports is vital. Students, administration, stakeholder groups, and government must make sure mental health is prioritized and implemented on the local level. The inclusion of mental health services in OHIP coverage is a great first step, but this still leaves out coverage for international students.
Lastly, incorporated student associations may see tax savings through an increased exemption level for the Employer Health Tax. If your student association pays between $450,000 and $1 million in payroll, it may be eligible for savings. Below are the specific commitments made by the Green Party of Ontario:
“Committed to addressing both the funding gap that institutions face and the pressure of rising tuition costs on students.
We support properly funding higher education with public subsidies, with the eventual guarantee of full public tuition for all Ontario residents, as well as interest-free loans for students in financial need.
Specific investments for student support include increasing access to mental health services for students by raising the number of counsellors, psychologists, and social workers in schools. This includes increased access to gender and culturally-sensitive mental health services and supports that are timely, flexible, and provided in a safe and comfortable environment.
At the postsecondary level, we support increased funding and resources for food security programs to supplement mental health and poverty reduction efforts.”
From the platform:
“Support jobs in your community: Lower payroll taxes on small local businesses and nonprofits:
We will lower payroll taxes on local businesses and nonprofits by increasing the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1 million in payroll for businesses and organizations with payrolls under $5 million.
Increasing the EHT exemption will help small businesses and nonprofits to keep about $1 billion each year to invest in our communities and pay workers better wages. We will pay for it by reversing the Liberal’s corporate tax cut for big businesses by 1%.
Provide everyone access to mental health services: Make mental health services part of OHIP+
Green MPPs will invest $4.1 billion over 4 years, an additional $2 billion above the projected increases in the 2018 budget, into mental health services as the first step to making mental health services part of OHIP+.
Greens will create a new umbrella organization called Mental Health and Addictions Ontario to consolidate and prioritize mental health and addictions programs and services consistently across Ontario.”
You can view the full platform here: https://gpo.ca/our-platform/