Canada 500,000 students 'caught in the crossfire' during Ontario college strike

08:22  13 november  2017
08:22  13 november  2017 Source:   CBC

College students demand refund amid faculty strike

  College students demand refund amid faculty strike A group of students who have been out of classes since Oct. 16, have planned a rally of their own Tuesday alongside their striking teachers at St. Clair College. Many of them are fed up with the dispute and unhappy with the contingency plan. St. Clair College shortens holiday break in response to staff strike "We can't stand for that," said Betty Sylvain, a first year accounting student at St. Clair College. "All we ask for is we pay for 15 weeks and we'd like to get what we paid for."As a single mother who uses student loans to pay tuition, she feels cheated in many ways.

16, roughly 500 , 000 college students across the province have been missing classes amid the strike involving 12, 000 college workers represented by the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, and the province's 24 colleges , which are "But at the same time, we feel caught in the crossfire ."

They are among the roughly 300, 000 college students across Ontario caught in the crossfire this week as 12, 000 faculty went on strike Monday after negotiations ended between their union and the province’s 24 public colleges .

500,000 students 'caught in the crossfire' during Ontario college strike: For Zachary Babins, the ongoing college strike means his mental health is taking a hit. 'Those of us with anxiety and depression often cope by being busy,' said the 24-year-old. But it's hard to stay busy when school's out of session.<br />© Martin Trainor/CBC News For Zachary Babins, the ongoing college strike means his mental health is taking a hit. 'Those of us with anxiety and depression often cope by being busy,' said the 24-year-old. But it's hard to stay busy when school's out of session.

For Zachary Babins, the ongoing college strike means his mental health is taking a hit.

"Those of us with anxiety and depression often cope by being busy," said the 24-year-old.

But it's hard to stay busy when school's not in session.

Since Oct. 16, roughly 500,000 college students across the province have been missing classes amid the strike involving 12,000 college workers represented by the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, and the province's 24 colleges, which are represented by the College Employer Council.

'Hardship fund' announced for students caught in college strike

  'Hardship fund' announced for students caught in college strike Ontario's Liberal government announced Friday it will help students struggling financially due to the faculty strike at community colleges. Advanced Education and Skills Development Minister Deb Matthews has instructed colleges to establish funds out of the savings they accrue from not paying their faculty to support students finding themselves in financial hardship.“All students are struggling with continued uncertainty,” Matthews said in a released statement.“They are worried about how to pay for unexpected costs like additional rent or cancelling long-standing travel plans to be home with family.

Across Ontario , over 500 , 000 students are expected to stand by while the Ontario college strike prevents us from getting the education we pay for. I’m not an international student caught in the cross - fire , who came to our “great” province for an education.

When instructors at Ontario colleges walked out more than two weeks ago, many students were shut out of their newspapers entirely. This came as a surprise to Times staff, since the paper printed without interruption during a 2006 strike . “We didn’t really fully understand,” says design editor Stuart

  • College faculty rally at Humber College ahead of forced vote on contentious contract
  • Strike or no strike, these college students are forging ahead with their education

While a contract vote is expected this week, union representatives on Tuesday said the timing of the vote "virtually guarantees" that thousands of students will lose their semesters.

"A lot of us, we really feel for the teachers and we want them to have the tools they need to succeed," said Babins, who is studying public relations at Seneca College. "But at the same time, we feel caught in the crossfire."

It's a sentiment shared by many students, be it for mental health reasons, financial concerns, or the potential hiccups that could arise if a semester is condensed or extended.

Ontario college strike now at 29 days making it the longest the province has seen

  Ontario college strike now at 29 days making it the longest the province has seen College faculty begin their “forced vote” on a contract offer on Tuesday, as their strike — now in its fifth week — becomes the longest job action in their history. At 29 days so far, it is longer than the three previous strikes — in 1984, job action lasted 24 days, in 1989 it went on for 28, and in 2016, 18 days.The 1984 strike ended with back-to-work legislation, and for the subsequent two, both sides agreed to mediation or arbitration.

Students caught in crossfire amid strike at Ontario colleges . Several colleges in the province said they recognized the concerns raised by the strike and hoped it would end before the more than 40, 000 international students enrolled in Ontario colleges felt financial — or other — difficulties.

Read more: Students caught in crossfire amid strike at Ontario colleges . “I know that the instructors and the teachers who are out don’t want to be out either. They want to be in the classroom with their students .”

'It's hard not to be depressed'

Samantha Sokol, 28, who is in Seneca College's one-year public relations and corporate communications program, says her mental health is "suffering" during the strike.

"It's hard not to be depressed or anxious when the future is so uncertain," she said. "I wake up every day with sharp anxiety in my stomach, wondering how long it will be before I am allowed to go back to the classroom."

Sokol questions who is fighting for students during the standoff, particularly international students on visas, and those who are supposed to be graduating this year and entering the workforce.

  • College strike: faculty vote slated for next week

Others had expected to wrap up college programs this semester and transfer to universities, including many nursing students taking "bridge" programs that help make the jump from a diploma to a degree.

Whitney Allen, 23, and Samira Kassem, 22, are both in the nursing program at Centennial College, which started in September 2016 and was supposed to finish in December — at which point they would continue on to Ryerson University to complete a degree.

Striking faculty reject colleges’ contract offer

  Striking faculty reject colleges’ contract offer Striking faculty have rejected an offer from Ontario’s colleges, meaning their job action — the longest in their history — continues. News of the vote result prompted Premier Kathleen Wynne to say she’ll immediately meet with both sides. “Students have been in the middle of this strike for too long and it’s not fair,” she said in a statement, adding that on Thursday afternoon, “I will be meeting representatives of the College Employer Council and OPSEU to discuss how we can resolve this situation immediately and get students back to class where they belong.

500 , 000 students ' caught in the crossfire ' during Ontario college strike . Ontario landlords now have to pay tenants if evicting them to use units for themselves. A landlord's nightmare: Tenants kept livestock in the house.

Classes have been cancelled for more than 500 , 000 students after faculty at 24 Ontario colleges went on strike late Sunday night. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents 12, 000 college professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians

"If I'm paying for service, why am I not getting that service?" questioned Allen, who showed CBC Toronto an email from her school, reminding students that tuition is due by Nov. 30.

"We could be losing the semester and we won't be able to make it to Ryerson," said Kassem. "And that's the goal at the end of the day: To move on with our education."

Nancy Walton, director of the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University, said "there are no anticipated effects on students applying to enter the Collaborative Nursing Program for 2018."

Tuition refund petition has 128,000 supporters

Still, with no word on when classes will resume, some students are on edge — and many are also calling for a tuition refund.

One petition, launched before the strike, now has more than 128,000 supporters pushing for a tuition refund for each day of class missed during the strike.

"At an average tuition of $5,000 for two 13-week semesters, we are paying nearly $40/day to be in school," reads the Change.org petition . Supporters of the #WePayToLearn petition say full-time students should be reimbursed $30 a day, and $20 a day for part-time students.

Babins, one of the supporters, hopes student unions push for that once the dust settles.

And there may be an end in sight: The Ontario Labour Relations Board scheduled the vote to run from Nov.14 to16, with results expected in the days to follow, when the strike will be nearing the end of its fifth week.

Until then, thousands of students are stuck in limbo, amid a conflict beyond their control.

"In the war between the CEC and the OPSEU, students are caught in the middle," said Sokol. "Our education is being used as a bargaining chip."

Students who quit college because of strike can get tuition refund .
Students who quit college because of strike can get tuition refundThe aid for full-time domestic and international students will cover unexpected costs such as child care, rebooked train and bus tickets and January rent.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
This is interesting!