The province’s decision to spend $7.6 million bailing out students affected by the closure of Everest College is undoubtedly welcome to the students, but it points to an underlying flaw in the government’s thinking, said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“Ontario has an excellent tax-supported system of community colleges offering a full range of programs. This is where our tax dollars should be spent and where our student should be encouraged to study,” he said in a letter to Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Reza Moridi.
“Rather than mopping up after a failed private operation, Ontario should be putting its resources into a successful public system.”
Thomas said it was easy to sympathize with students who lost their tuition and were locked out of their classrooms. “I don’t mean to sound hard-hearted, but in the private sector, you pay your money and you take your chances. If you want a guarantee of continuity and quality, look to the colleges we all have a commitment to maintaining,” he wrote
“Certainly the province should take responsibility for people who are hurt by its own actions, inactions and decisions, but I would hate to see this as a precedent for bailing out everyone whose economic decisions turnout unfortunately in areas where the government has no role whatever.”
OPSEU represents about 35,000 faculty and support staff at the 24 Ontario community colleges.