The PC government denounced the actions of student unions in Ontario in an official email sent on Feb. 12 “Students were forced into unions and forced to pay for those unions,” Premier Doug Ford said in the email. “I think we all know what kind of crazy Marxist nonsense student unions get up to. So, we fixed that. Student union fees are now opt-in.”
In a press release issued on Feb. 12, Feds called these statements “upsetting, needlessly sensational, and more importantly, wrong.”
“We sincerely hope that this is not the Premier’s actual perception of student unions in this province,” Matthew Gerrits, Feds VP Education, said. “His statements not only grotesquely devalue the important work that student unions enable students to do, but also unnecessarily and incorrectly attribute a singular ideological association to imply that student unions function in a partisan manner. This is quite simply wrong.”
Feds executives, in the press release, mentioned that student unions in Ontario are “non-partisan” and “as diverse as the students we are elected to represent.” In the press release, Feds executives said that they want the Premier to retract his statement as student unions are not driven by ideologies. They act on the demands and needs of the students and their initiatives are based on what benefits the students.
The choice to opt-out from certain fees was outlined in the Students’ Choice Initiative (SCI) announced by Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities Merrilee Fullerton on Jan. 17. On Jan. 29, Feds and 75 student unions in Ontario signed a letter opposing the SCI due to concerns about how this would affect their ability to advocate for students.