March 31st, 2020

NDP statement on COVID-19 contingency plans for colleges and universities

QUEEN’S PARK — Today the Ontario government announced emergency financial support for Ontario’s colleges and universities and a grace period on paying back student loans amid the COVID-19. Chris Glover, Ontario NDP Colleges and Universities critic, released the following statement in response:

“Emergency financial support for colleges and universities and a grace period on paying back student loans are good first steps in addressing the impact of COVID-19 in our post-secondary institutions. But more needs to be done for Ontario’s post-secondary students and the colleges and universities where they study.

As post-secondary institutions turn to online learning as a stopgap measure, the government needs to ensure that there is equitable access, including for students with low incomes and those who live in remote parts of Ontario. Many students do not have access to computers and Wi-Fi, or cannot afford data plans.

And while the grace period on paying back student loans is welcome relief for graduates who have student debt, many students will need more support to be able to continue their studies in September as they and their parents suffer loss of income because of the pandemic.

Colleges and universities are also facing extra costs as residences continue to house and feed thousands of students who are not able to return home right now.

As our post-secondary institutions contribute to the efforts to fight COVID-19 — by producing personal protective equipment and by potentially contributing to lab testing soon — we need to make sure that they and their students are fully supported in their time of need too.”