Ontario colleges resume as students scoff at Liberals' $500 payout


Ryerson students part of the collaborative nursing program are expected to be back in class on Tuesday, after the provincial government passed a back-to-work bill Sunday, putting an end to the five-week-long college faculty strike.

Union representatives told us that it wasn't really about more money, but I don't think anyone will refuse the seven per cent wage increase that the colleges offered.

Simply put, there were no winners here.

The New Democrats have blocked swift passage of the bill since Thursday and Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews said the NDP was unnecessarily delaying students' return to the classroom.

The first year Entrepreneurial Business student at Georgian College is trying to recover from a five-week strike by faculty that was ended by back-to-work legislation.

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.

The fall semester will run until December 22 for Seneca students, with the holiday break beginning December 23 with no classes, tests, exams or assignments due from 6 p.m. December 22 to 7 a.m. on January 2.

George Brown's winter semester will finish on January 19th in order to accommodate the missed time. The House reconvened on Friday at 3:00 p.m.to work for unanimous support for their back-to-work legislation.

For Confederation College students, classes will resume on Tuesday. "We have a small Christmas break, no reading week, and then next semester right after this semester".

Students now receiving OSAP who have their winter semesters extended past the normal end date will also receive additional OSAP aid. In their final years, students pay tuition to Ryerson but still have professors from their original colleges, for some of their classes.

Monday, the province announced full-time and global students affected by the strike can apply for a reimbursement of up to $500 for unexpected costs, like child care fees, rebooked train or bus tickets or rent.

"The fact that there are students out there who want the semester cancelled due to the labour action shows how frustrated they are with the situation", Willet explained.

Being in limbo for five-weeks took a toll. "Faculty often works two or three jobs to make ends meet, and students lose out on the help, support and mentorship their education should come with".

"There's also people who had trips they've already paid for. It's cost them thousands of dollars".

"It's going to be a very busy rest of the semester for students", said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance.