Ontario court quashes province's post-secondary student fee opt out order

Ontario court quashes province's post-secondary student fee opt out order

Ontario court quashes province's post-secondary student fee opt out order

"I hope it means good news for us", Mackie said Friday morning, but stressed it's "a bit early to get our hopes too high". They point to a Progressive Conservative fundraising email from Premier Doug Ford, in which he bemoaned what he called "crazy Marxist nonsense" from student unions and said he "fixed that" by making student union fees optional.

"Today the Ontario Divisional Court has confirmed what students already knew: The Student Choice Initiative is unlawful, and the Ford government acted beyond their authority", Kayla Weiler, a CFS representative, said in a release.

The judges wrote that Ford's comments weren't relevant to the decision since they were not deciding issues of improper objective or bad faith, but they noted that nowhere else did the government explain why some fees such as athletics were deemed essential and exempt from the opt-out, while others such as student union fees were "non-essential". These fees-which were deemed "non-essential" in March-funded campus student groups, cultural associations, student unions and campus media organizations, such as radio stations and newspapers.

"We are sitting on the edge of our seats", Mackie said.

Mackie said NUSU budgeting was "on the pessimistic side" this year to prepare for any changes.

The fees, which in some cases add more than $1,000 to the tuition bill, are used to fund on-campus clubs and student governments, but those that support health and wellness or campus safety, remained mandatory.

Mackie said the court decision is "unlikely to have any impact on the winter semester".

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Doug Downey said the ruling is being reviewed. Full-time students in Ontario pay about $300 in fees each year, none of which goes to the institutions themselves. Lawyers for the CFS and YFS argued that the decision to make some student fees optional was an attack on universities' independence and was in bad faith. The government had threatened to claw back operating grants to schools that didn't abide by its directives.

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