College Students Return To Class

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne answers questions during CBC's Ontario Today on Thursday

A five-week strike by over 12,000 teaching and other educational staff at Ontario community colleges has led to political theater and confusion for about 500,000 students.

Union representatives told us that it wasn't really about more money, but I don't think anyone will refuse the seven per cent wage increase that the colleges offered.

Nancy Walton, director of the DCSN, said in an email that the collaborative program faculty will be working with the college faculty now that the strike is over to put "robust" plans into action for the students.

Thomas Morales is among 500,000 Ontario college students who are heading back to class Tuesday.

Five weeks that showed that the students seemed to be the only adults in the room in this unnecessary disruption in their education.

The Liberal government first attempted to introduce and pass its back-to-work bill in one fell swoop Thursday evening, after restarted talks between the colleges and the faculty's union reached an impasse.

Georgian College says on its website that its finalizing the process to assist students who need specific financial support because of the strike, and those details should be available by the end of the week.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had met both the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents the teachers, and the regulating body College Employer Council (CEC) on Thursday after union members overwhelmingly voted against contract offers.

College strike
OPSEU members rally outside the Labour Relations Board in Toronto on Thursday

The fall semester will then continue until January 9. Faculty have been back on campuses as of Monday, November 20, 2017.

The notice of action alleges the colleges breached contracts with students by failing to provide vocational training and a full term of classes.

At Humber College, the schedule looks like this: the last day of classes for 2017 will be December 22, students will have a break until January 2, and the fall semester will resume from January 8-23.

The winter 2018 term will be delayed until January 22 and last 13 weeks, with a March Break still intact.

Students now receiving OSAP who have their winter semesters extended past the normal end date will also receive additional OSAP aid.

"But when they came back and said, 'There is not a glimmer of hope, we are in a deadlock, ' that was when we moved to save the semester for students", she said. "Faculty often works two or three jobs to make ends meet, and students lose out on the help, support and mentorship their education should come with".

"For people who have classes on Monday it's another week that the strike has been delayed, so it is real", Matthews said.

"It's going to be a very busy rest of the semester for students", said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance.

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