Premier Kicks Off Tour of Ontario College and University Campuses
Students to Share Their Perspectives on Creating More Fairness and Opportunity
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Laurentian University in Sudbury today to kick off a four-day tour of Ontario postsecondary institutions. Students will have the chance to engage with the Premier and share their ideas about how we can create a fairer, better and greener province with more opportunity for everyone.
The Premier will highlight Ontario's commitment to ensure that students can go on to postsecondary education based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay. The province is acting now to make life more affordable for students by:
- Providing free tuition to over 225,000 students this year and making it easier to apply to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so working students can better afford the costs of going to school
- Providing free prescription medications through OHIP+ for everyone under the age of 25
- Protecting student renters against unfair rent increases and evictions through the Fair Housing Plan
- Providing free and low-cost online textbooks.
The Premier will also talk with students, faculty and staff about a range of issues at postsecondary campuses in Sudbury, Kingston, Cambridge, Windsor and throughout Toronto and the surrounding area. This will include engaging with students on how Ontario can lead the way in the fight against climate change and highlighting the province's actions -- such as helping campuses retrofit their facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofit Program.
Ontario's colleges and universities play a crucial role in ensuring the province's greatest competitive advantage -- its people -- continue to be among the most highly educated anywhere in the world.
Expanding access to postsecondary education by making life more affordable for students is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- More than one-third of all full-time university and college students in the province are receiving free average tuition this year covered by OSAP grants, a total of more than 225,000 people.
- More than 400,000 students have applied to the new OSAP so far this year — 70,000 more than at the same time last year.
- On January 1, Ontario became the first province to provide prescription drug coverage to children and youth under the age of 25.
- Ontario increased the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, and will increase it to $15 on January 1, 2019.
- In Ontario, 68 per cent of adults aged 25 to 64 have completed postsecondary education, the highest percentage in all of the OECD nations.
- Through proceeds from Ontario’s carbon market, colleges and universities will receive over $214 million in grants and have access to $300 million in interest-free loans for retrofits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as installing high-efficiency boilers and energy-efficient windows.
“Students have an important voice in the conversations about fairness in our province. From providing free tuition to increasing the minimum wage, we’re acting now to make sure our young people will have the same opportunities to get ahead in Ontario as their parents did. We know we have more work to do, not just on our campuses, but in our communities. So I want to hear from students — about your ideas, your experiences and your concerns, and about how we can build the kind of Ontario we all want to live in now and for future generations.”