TORONTO Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members from university campuses across Ontario will be visiting their MPPs on April 8 to present petitions calling for restoration of funding that has been cut from postsecondary education in the last 10 years.
Academic and support workers from Toronto and Guelph will kick off the lobby campaign through meetings scheduled with NDP critic Rosario Marchese and Liberal MPP Liz Sandals. In Windsor, they will deliver petitions to the constituency office of Community and Social Services Minister Sandra Pupatello.
The provincial Liberals are getting ready for their budget, said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario. If they stick to the recommendations from Bob Raes review of postsecondary education, we are not going to see significant improvement in our universities.
While Rae recognized the need for additional funding, he recommended that a large share come from higher tuition fees and corporate support. His recommendation for a new grant program would leave average working families paying much more for their children to attend university.
We want to see public funding for public institutions, not privatization and user fees, Ryan said.
Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the CUPE Ontario university workers coordinating committee (OUWCC), said the same principle applies to investment in university infrastructure.
We need at least $1 billion over three years to begin to fund the deferred maintenance deficit on university campuses, she said. We believe the government, not universities and colleges, should assume this debt. Public money should not be used to pay the high costs of borrowing from private lenders.
The CUPE petition calls for:
- restoring public money cut from operating funds since 1995 and bringing Ontario up to the national average for funding postsecondary education;
- financing the $1.98 billion needed for deferred maintenance;
- continuing the tuition freeze beyond 2006 and increasing grants.
For more information, please contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066 (cell)
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142 (cell)
IN TORONTO Diane Fleming, CUPE 1230, University of Toronto, 416-978-2299; 416-598-8987
IN GUELPH Janice Folk-Dawson, CUPE 1334, University of Guelph, 519-766-8376
IN WINDSOR Joel C. Bentley, CUPE 1001, University of Windsor, 519-253-3000 Ext. 1001