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Ontario NDP Party Platform Breakdown

The Ontario NDP and their leader, Andrea Horwath, released their platform in the run up to the 2018 provincial election. With major investments in the college sector, CSA is pleased the NDP party understands increasing funding to the college system means better outcomes for students. Below, we’ve highlighted some post-secondary education (PSE) commitments and what they mean for college students.

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CSA has been at the forefront of ensuring OSAP reform work better for students. The NDP platform commits to changing the provincial portion of OSAP loans into non-repayable grants; this means the next generation of students will benefit from greater access to post-secondary and be in a better position to succeed once graduated. Additionally, for graduated students who are currently repaying their loans, forgiving the interest on OSAP loans means more money in their pocket. With additional commitments to increase funding for colleges and universities, CSA will continue to advocate to ensure tuition fees, for both domestic and international students, are kept under control.

While the NDP announced they are committing to a faculty renewal strategy to help contract educators earn full-time spots, we hope they will take into consideration any recommendations made by the Provincial Task Force for the college sector. Our work on the Provincial Task Force will include a focus on staffing models to improve program quality and student experience.

Though the NDP platform includes a substantial commitment to mental health in the form of a stand-alone ministry, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, there is not a specific commitment to mental health on post-secondary campuses. In CSA’s joint mental health report, In It Together, we recommend for post-secondary students to be formally recognized as a distinct population cohort. In addition, proper supports need to be put on campus to ensure students have access to gender and culturally sensitive services that are timely, effective, and flexible.

We are please the NDP has committed to creating 27,000 new paid placements for students to get real-life work experience during their PSE career. Along with doubling Ontario’s Career Kick-Start program so institutions can create new work-integrated learning opportunities, we urge the NDP to include students when consulting institutions and employers.

With the NDP’s announcement to offer $12 per day child care, there will be a new demand for early childhood educators (ECEs); the NDP plan to increase the wages for ECEs to ensure people see this as a viable career. Working with Ontario colleges that have ECE programs, students will have the opportunity to immediately begin their career. Additionally, by setting targets for reducing obesity and diet-related illness, the NDP will work with local providers, including colleges, to increase healthy local options. CSA is excited that a specific focus is being put on college students and technical institutions.

We look forward to continuing to working with Ontario’s NDP in improving the college sector. Below, you’ll find parts of the NDP plan taken directly from the platform that impact the college and post-secondary sector.

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The following content was directly sourced from the platform:



Better post-secondary education

  • From now on, every student who qualifies for OSAP will get a non-repayable grant instead of a loan

  • We will wipe out any student loan interest owed or paid to the province by any student or past student who still holds a provincial loan

  • A new faculty renewal strategy will convert contractors to full-time professors

  • We will open the Franco–Ontarian university

  • We will foster 27,000 new work-integrated-learning opportunities like co-ops or paid internships for students

Provincial loans for all new postsecondary students will become grants. Every student whose family is eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Plan will graduate free of any debt to the province. We will retroactively forgive all interest for everyone carrying provincial student loan debts.

And graduates who have been harassed and threatened by private debt collectors for student loans can breathe easier. The province will no longer hire private debt collection services.

We’ll end the financial choke-hold on colleges and universities by lifting the budget freeze. And we’ll make sure funding keeps up, so post-secondary institutions can offer the choices and quality of instruction Ontario students deserve.

We’ll launch a faculty renewal strategy to allow contract educators to become full-time professors and instructors, and invest in more tenure-track faculty positions. That will help ensure students can learn from professors and educators who are there for the long term — who they can seek out to take more classes, or reach for letters of recommendation. And it will help Ontario attract the best academic talent the world has to offer.