5-week Ontario college strike comes to an end

Students demonstrate outside the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Wednesday

Students suing Ontario colleges over disrupted school year

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

NDP Andrea Horwath blamed the protracted labour action - in which the union representing the striking faculty advocated for more full-time instructor positions and more academic freedom ¬- on a lack of adequate government funding for the college system.

After a special weekend sitting legislation passed yesterday forcing the end of the college strike, 500,000 students province-wide, including 3,500 Canadore College students, will be back in class Tuesday.

The provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund using savings from the strike to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the labour dispute.

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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. The province's 24 colleges will be expected to foot the bill for the refund, she said.

Patrick Brown, the PC leader says, "The Ontario PCs are relieved to know that college students will be heading back to the classroom early next week". If recent polls are right, those seats will be harder for the Liberals to defend in 2018 than they were to win in 2014.

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

NDP education critic Peggy Sattler said students should be given a full tuition refund for the semester.

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The legal action is helping draw attention to students' voices, said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance, who added they are "being ignored" by the College Employer Council (CEC) and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

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. "And there is a feeling that they wouldn't get the education that they paid for at the end of the day and graduate with an asterisk attached to their name for future employment opportunities".

At the very beginning of the dispute, we called for the Wynne Liberals to step in and bring both sides to the table. "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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