What is the Student Choice Initiative?
The Student Choice Initiative is a program that was announced on January 17th, 2019 by the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities - Merrilee Fullerton. This initiative gives students the option to opt out of certain fees that were previously a mandatory part of their tuition.
What are “essential” and “non-essential” fees?
Ancillary fees, which are administrative costs that students pay on top of tuition, have now been broken down and classified as “essential” or “non-essential” fees, as outlined by the government. As stated in the Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines, compulsory services include:
Athletics and Recreation
Health and Counselling
Student ID Cards
Student Achievement and Records
Financial Aid Offices
Campus Safety Programs
These are the services that students will be unable to opt out of. Students will be given the opportunity to opt out of any programming that does not match this criteria.
How does this effect Winters College Council (WCC)?
Winters College Council provides a number of services to our students that have been deemed non-essential. Some of these include career services, academic supports, and social networking events. Unfortunately, the institutions we belong to, both governmental and academic, do not consider arts-related careers or education “essential.”
A few career-building opportunities that we offer are supported by the Eleanor Winters Art Gallery (EWAG) and the Winters Free Press (WFP or The Artichoke). Both of these services are essential to the development of a multitude of careers within the arts such as:
Displaying work in a gallery setting
Media and advertising
Editing academic and creative works of writing
Some of the skills that are developed through these services include:
Managing a budget/financial management
Installing art work in a gallery setting
Curating installations according to a vision
Social media outreach and promotion
Developing interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills
Enhanced leadership and collaboration
Increased knowledge of campus resources
Development of effective time and workflow management skills
Event planning and management
Communicating with stakeholders
Developing and sticking to timelines
Providing on-site supervision and trouble-shooting
Ability to identify and articulate one’s own learning
Development of independence and self-reliance
A number of proposed academic supports, through workshops and events, have also been classified as non-essential. Some of these offered topics of support include:
How to do your taxes as a freelance artist
Building networking skills
How to write a resume
How to pitch yourself and your work
How to create a budget
How to use Google Apps
A variety of social events that we offer are also included in this non-essential fee, such as:
Themed Pub Nights
Spoken Word/Poetry events
What can we do to fight against this?
On May 29, 2019 the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) filed a legal challenge against the Ford government, specifically the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, citing lack of legal authority and bad faith when dealing with post-secondary student affairs. To support this cause and learn about updates as they happen, follow the CFS and York’s student government chapter, the YFS on Instagram at @cfson and @yfslocal68 respectively.
You can also stay opted in to other levy-funded organizations on campus and show up to events! This includes other student governments like ours, as well as other partners across campus, such as: Vibe 105 (@vibe105to), the Art Gallery of York University (@a_g_y_u), the Creative Arts Student Association (@casa.yorku), the Excalibur (@excalweb), and more.
Finally, contact your local and provincial government and make it known that you are against the Student Choice Initiative! You can start with Merrilee Fullerton, the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities.
Toll Free: 1-800-267-1020