The University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) has provided pre-budget recommendations to the Province on a wide range of issues affecting UofT students. They include:
- Student Financial Assistance
- Student Mental Health,
- Sexual Violence Prevention
- Housing and Student Tenants, and
- Keeping Transit Affordable
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen that students need support now more than ever,” said Tyler Riches, UTSU Vice-President Public & University Affairs. ”Additional funding is needed for financial aid, mental health, rent relief and more, to support students as they work towards finishing their degree.”
The UTSU recommendations will be considered as the government develops its 2021 budget. They include:
Student Financial Assistance
- Addressing student financial need by increasing OSAP grants for low-income and middle-income students.
- Implementing a two-year interest-free grace period after graduation on provincial student loan payments.
- Continuing to freeze tuition across all programs while increasing operating grants, until students are contributing approximately one-third of universities’ total operating budgets.
Student Mental Health
- Increasing funding for campus-based mental health services and supports, such as the Mental Health Worker Grant and the Mental Health Services Grant, and further support peer-to-peer programming, frontline counselling services, and preventive and early intervention initiatives.
- Increasing funding to post-secondary Accessibility Services offices that provide supports to students with disabilities, including non-physical and transient disabilities.
Housing & Student Tenants
- Providing funding for a residential rent relief program to provide rent assistance to tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sexual Violence Prevention
- Increasing funding for sexual violence centres across Ontario, including crisis response and peer support programs.
Keeping Transit Affordable
- Providing permanent, conditions-free operating grants to municipal transit agencies, such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
- Restoring the GO-TTC fare discount program.