NDP concerned about college students missing licensing exams following strike

NDP demands Wynne offer better support and compensation for students

QUEEN’S PARK – Kathleen Wynne refused to step in and help end the colleges strike earlier, letting it drag on for five weeks – and for some students, that now means they’ll miss entrance exams.

“We are now learning that because of the extended semester, some students wishing to write their paralegal entrance exam with the Law Society won’t be finished in time for the February exam sitting – putting students behind by at least six months,” said NDP Advanced Education critic Peggy Sattler. “Given the fact that the Liberal government sat on the sidelines for five weeks and did nothing to help prevent or resolve the strike, is the premier working on a solution for these students?”

Sattler said the paralegal licensing exams, scheduled by the Law Society of Upper Canada for February, are just one example of the consequences of the strike for students. The Law Society requires final grades from college students be submitted by Jan. 2 in order for students to write the February exam. But because of the extended semester, some students won’t receive final grades until as late as Jan. 20 – disqualifying them from the February sitting, and delaying their entrance into their chosen field. The next licensing exam sitting is scheduled for July, 2018.

She pointed to co-ops as another area students say they may not be able to make up for the missed time, along with practicums for programs like nursing and police training.

“Kathleen Wynne needs to step up here and help these students,” said Sattler. “Not only are students being forced to cram five weeks of learning into two, and not only are students trying to deal with a financial burden that in many cases exceeds the $500 Student Hardship Fund, but missing these standard exams, co-op placements and practicum hours just adds insult to injury.”

Sattler and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath have been advocating for increased supports for students after the Wynne Liberals allowed a five-week strike to drag on before passing Conservative-style back-to-work legislation to send faculty back to work without solving any of the problems. Sattler has called for the removal of the $500 cap on the Student Hardship Fund, and criticized the Wynne Liberals for their decision to force students to drop out of college entirely and lose a spot in their program in order to get a refund, if they feel they can’t manage the workload of the condensed semester and want a January fresh start.

“For five weeks, Kathleen Wynne did nothing to help bring about a fair resolution to this strike,” said Sattler. “Now she is not doing enough to help the students hurt by her inaction. The NDP would make sure that every single student in this province has the tools they need to make the semester work – that should include talking to organizations like the Law Society to make sure that the licensing exam is postponed long enough that students won’t be forced to wait until July.”