July 19th, 2021

Opening the doors is not enough, colleges and universities need funding to prepare for safe in-person classes: NDP

KITCHENER – NDP Critic for Colleges and Universities Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre) released the following statement in response to the government’s announcement that post-secondary institutions can fully reopen this fall:
“While the reopening of Ontario’s colleges and universities is exciting news, resuming classes at this stage of the pandemic is more complicated than just opening the doors. Ford must provide all publicly-funded colleges and universities with badly needed funding for onsite rapid testing, upgraded ventilation systems that meet airborne transmission standards and to allow physical distancing in classrooms. This is especially critical given the lack of investment over the course of 15 years of successive Liberal and Conservative neglect leaving the sector struggling to upgrade older buildings.
We cannot ignore skyrocketing demands for youth mental health services across the province. Ford must immediately increase mental health commitments to colleges and universities to ensure students' diverse needs are met as they return for in-person learning. Given data demonstrating that Black, Indigenous and racialized communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, this must include dedicated funding for culturally responsive mental health supports.
Planning has been underway across the sector while the Ford government has been dragging their feet on whether in-person sessions would resume. The Ford government is doing too little, too late, again. Ontario’s students should be a priority.”