Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

June 06, 2007 14:27 ET

College Union Endorses Student Lawsuit

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 6, 2007) - The union representing staff at Ontario's 24 community colleges is offering its full support to a class action lawsuit by two students.

The students have filed suit against the colleges for charging a number of user fees that are not permitted by the Ontario government. The fees include computer, library, and other so-called "ancillary" fees.

"We applaud the students who have come forward to expose these illegal charges that all college students are forced to pay on top of their already-too-high tuition fees," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "We fully support this lawsuit."

Colleges are using ancillary fees and high tuition fees to hide their own poor management of the public dollars they receive, said Paddy Musson, chair of the union's College Academic Division.

"While it is true that Ontario ranks ninth out of 10 Canadian provinces in per-student funding of its colleges, we have serious concerns about the way the colleges spend the dollars they do have," said Musson, who teaches at Fanshawe College in London. "Over the last three years we have seen a gradual increase in college funding, but this has not translated into improved student-teacher ratios at all.

"That's why we have been pushing the McGuinty government to implement strong accountability measures to make sure public dollars go to education quality."

Musson said ancillary fees and high tuition fees have a negative impact on the education students receive at college.

"These fees mean students are forced into the workplace to make ends meet," she said. "They have less time to study and they come to school tired. Getting rid of illegal ancillary fees can only improve the quality of education we provide and the quality of graduates our colleges produce."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Paddy Musson
    (519) 615-1110 (cell)