Canada Ontario colleges strike enters its fifth week and students feel ‘hopeless’ as bills mount

22:32  13 november  2017
22:32  13 november  2017 Source:   National Post

Bill to end Ontario college strike passes

  Bill to end Ontario college strike passes TORONTO - Ontario has passed back-to-work legislation, ending a five-week college strike and paving the way for students to return to class. The Liberal government first attempted to introduce the bill Thursday evening, after restarted talks between the colleges and the faculty's union reached an impasse. But unanimous consent of all parties was needed, and the NDP refused, leading the government to introduce the legislation Friday. It was debated The Liberal government first attempted to introduce the bill Thursday evening, after restarted talks between the colleges and the faculty's union reached an impasse.

Forget break. Think costly and stressful. As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

Forget break. Think costly and stressful. As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

LFP20171112DR010: Merisa Buragina is a Fanshawe College student suffering financial hardship.© Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network Merisa Buragina is a Fanshawe College student suffering financial hardship.

Forget break.

Think costly and stressful.

As the strike in Ontario’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week, students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

Rent, groceries, getting around — bills are piling up for what’s essentially been dead time for many students, who’ve now been out of class almost as long this semester as they were in, with some schools — including London-based Fanshawe College — already moving to extend the fall semester into the new year.

'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.

Forget break. Think costly and stressful. As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

Forget break. Think costly and stressful. As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

Add to that other threatened domino effects from the strike, such as not being able to move on to other courses or jobs, as expected, and some students are seeing red.

There’s also the hard fact they’ve paid for education they’re not getting — something that really stings for Merisa Buragina, a dental hygiene student in London who’s paying out about $13,000 a year in tuition.

Buragina, attending Fanshawe College, had planned to graduate in April and write a registration exam that would allow her to start working in May, but that’s now been bumped to September.

“This means that I may not be able to start working until the end of 2018, which is hard when I have to pay off $50,000 in loans,” she said.

Buragina’s course is a combination of lectures, clinical requirements and community placements. She’s had to cancel appointments with her clients at Western University because her instructors have to supervise and they’re on strike.

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.

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Forget break. Think costly and stressful. As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members began a month ago.

“My hope is that I can get back to school really soon because the lack of sleep and stress my classmates and I have been experiencing is almost worse than when we are in school,” she said.

Buragina isn’t alone.

Ontario has ordered its colleges to create a fund from unpaid wages and other strike savings to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship, but that’s small consolation for those squeezed now.

Take Zack Fulmer, a second-year law clerk student at Fanshawe. He quit his part-time sales job earlier this year, as his course workload piled up.

Now, he has no classes and his old job is no longer available

“At this point I have been scrambling to get a job, selling my personal belongings just to be able to make rent for the next couple months — that is assuming the next round of OSAP does come out in January, as scheduled,” said Fulmer, referring to his student loan.

Some of the hardest-hits students are from other counties, who pay higher fees than Canadians.

Ontario colleges ask faculty to suspend four-week strike

  Ontario colleges ask faculty to suspend four-week strike Ontario colleges ask faculty to suspend four-week strike Ontario’s colleges are asking faculty to “suspend” their weeks-long strike while appealing to the province’s labour relations board to arrange a direct vote on their latest offer.The College Employer Council (CEC) accused the union of having “stonewalled” recently renewed negotiations and said it has addressed concerns by “enhancing full-time employment opportunities,” boosting academic freedom, increasing pay and job security.

Five Websites to Help College Students Save Money.

As the strike in Ontario ’s 24 community colleges enters its fifth week , students are starting to add up the numbers about the hit they’ve taken since the walkout by 12,000 faculty members “There is no authority or body to represent international students which makes us more hopeless ,” he said.

“They have literally wasted our time and money,” said Jaffar Madiyan, an international student from India at Fanshawe paying about $8,000 in tuition.

“There is no authority or body to represent international students which makes us more hopeless,” he said. Sometimes, just the break in the school routine is costly in itself.

Josselyn LeRoux is a single mother of two who lives near Mitchell.

Normally, she drives her kids to school in London and then goes to class.

“Being on strike means having no place to be every day, so I drive an extra two hours daily to go home, and come back again to pick up my kids. This means spending double on gas five days a week,” she said.

Barring an unforeseen twist, it’s unlikely classes will resume anytime soon. A forced vote is scheduled to run Tuesday through Thursday on a final offer the colleges made directly to the workers, bypassing their union bargaining team and going to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to trigger the vote.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents the workers, has urged its members to reject the offer from the College Employer Council, which bargains on behalf of all of the schools.

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.

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LFP20171112DR001: Zack Fulmer is is in his second year of the law clerk program.© Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network Zack Fulmer is is in his second year of the law clerk program.

Talks between the council and OPSEU broke off last Monday, five days after they had resumed.

In Southwestern Ontario, tens of thousands of students are affected at three colleges in seven cities.

Besides Fanshawe, which has satellite campuses in Woodstock, St. Thomas and Simcoe, other community colleges in the region include Windsor-based St. Clair, which has a Chatham campus, and Lambton College in Sarnia.

The strike by college professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians began Oct. 15 and has left 500,000 full- and part-time students out of class.

Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews of London, in announcing the hardship fund for students late last week, called the strike “a challenging time for everyone, but particularly for students,”

The province so far hasn’t said how large the fund might be, but colleges reported $5 million in savings after an 18-day strike in 2006.

By the numbers

500,000: Students affected

12,000: Striking faculty members

24: Community colleges involved

4: Full weeks since the strike began

Wynne government announces legislation to end college strike .
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's office says her government is tabling legislation that will end the province's college strike, after negotiations reached an impasse. Wynne met with both the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC) on Thursday after union members overwhelming voted against a contract offer."I asked them to work together to find a path forward that would see students return to class by Monday," Wynne said in the release.

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