Ontario college faculty return to work after legislation ends five-week strike

21 November, 2017, 01:25 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Ontario College Students Will Get A Full Refund If They Decide To Withdraw This Semester featured image

Approximately 500,000 students have been out of class across the provinde since the strike by 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians began October 15.

Half a million Ontario college students have the option of walking away from a now-condensed fall semester with a full tuition refund in the aftermath of a five-week-long faculty strike.

"The number one people who are missing out right now are the people who haven't done anything - and that's the students", said George Brown College student Hannah White-Halliwell.

Legislation to end the college strike, has passed at Queen's Park today.

The Ontario government's back-to-work legislation passed third reading in a weekend sitting of the provincial legislature Sunday, putting an end the province's five-week long college strike.

A similar tuition rebate was offered to students after a strike in 2006 shuttered Ontario colleges for 18 days.

Bargaining between the colleges and the OPSEU failed to meet an agreement on two occasions, leaving about 500,000 students out of class, including students part of the collaborative nursing program at Ryerson.

Practically speaking, the strike will mean the fall term will be extended to January 12.

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"I don't think any amount of money will be able to pay for the amount of anxiety that students have suffered through this whole process", she said.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had met both the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents the teachers, and the regulating body College Employer Council (CEC) on Thursday after union members overwhelmingly voted against contract offers.

In a statement issued Monday, the College Student Alliance said they are thankful that students will have the option for a full refund if they choose to withdraw.

The fall semester at many schools will be extended into the week starting December 18, with some colleges like George Brown finishing as late as December 22.

Flay said extending the semester with a shortened Christmas break will be problematic for students who aren't local.

"All that time is typically turnaround time for faculty", Currie said.

The two sides were at odds about what the union is calling an imbalance of precarious and part-time work, job security and academic freedom. "Students are the ones who are ultimately going to have to pick up this broken semester and try to focus on being able to get the best education possible".

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