January 22, 2018

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Ontario offering tuition refund, as striking college faculty return to class

22 November 2017

Striking college faculty rally in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct.25, 2017, calling on the province to send college administrators back to the bargaining table.

The provincial government previously directed colleges to create a fund for students with the money saved from the strike and on Monday, the province said that students who want to withdraw from school can apply for a full tuition refund.

The Ministry of Advanced Education says students will have two weeks from the resumption of classes Tuesday to decide whether or not they want to continue with the condensed semester.

Chen said she's most anxious about the written assignments for her clinical placement because many students have not received feedback, guidance or motivation since the beginning of the strike. "They have indicated to us that they are very frustrated". "So it's quite stressful", she said.

The professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians who had been on strike since Oct 16 in 24 colleges will now have to report to the respective institutions by Monday and return to classrooms on Tuesday.

Students will be able to apply to their college for financial assistance starting this week, the province said - a process Charney Lawyers, the firm handling the proposed class action, is warning students to be wary of.

CSA President Joel Willet commented on the usage of back-to-work legislation, saying that the use of it was "the last thing we wanted to see to resolve the situation".

"The colleges' bargaining team has not received any request from the provincially appointed mediator about bargaining this weekend", he said in a written statement.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says it is looking at the possibility of a constitutional challenge to the legislation. The House reconvened on Friday at 3:00 work for unanimous support for their back-to-work legislation. "The forced offer vote was an unnecessary delay that hurt both students and faculty, and it also was an abuse of public trust".

"Kathleen Wynne underfunded colleges for years, then sat on her hands for five weeks and did nothing while the strike dragged on", said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. The NDP needed to do due diligence, she said, including actually reading the bill. Classes at Fanshawe's Simcoe, Woodstock and St. Thomas campuses along with Sarnia's Lambton College and St. Clair College's Windsor and Chatham campuses were cancelled by the five-week strike - the longest faculty job action in the 50-year history of the Ontario college system.

"But when they came back and said, 'There is not a glimmer of hope, we are in a deadlock, ' that was when we moved to save the semester for students", she said.

Ontario offering tuition refund, as striking college faculty return to class