Students want free postsecondary education, and they’re willing to fight for it.
Hundreds of students across the country stood up for fair and equal education in the “Fight the Fees” protest held on Nov. 8. The organization Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) organized protests all over Canada advocating for free education for postsecondary students.
In a media release on Nov. 1, the CFS listed three demands: free education, educational justice, and student grants over student loans.
“The goal of the National Day of Action is to achieve free education for all students, both domestic and international students,” Mitra Yakubi, chairperson for CFS-Ontario, said in a statement to The Journal.
Through their social media accounts, CFS argues post secondary education isn’t a luxury but a right, encouraging the Canadian government to give grants to students rather than student loans.
The main rally in Ontario was held alongside rallies across the province, including in Ottawa, Sudbury, North Bay, Windsor, Thunder Bay, and Orillia.
Starting after noon, students in Toronto marched from Grange Park to Queen’s Park, calling on government officials to make education free. Thousands of students across Ontario campuses signed petitions to support the movement.
Many countries have worked to provide free education, and putting pressure on government officials might make Canada next, according to Yakubi.
“The National Day of Action is really important for Queen’s students since Ontario students pay some of the highest tuition fees in the country, and public funding for postsecondary is, on average, less than 24 per cent per institution,” Yakubi said.
At Queen’s, members of both the SGPS and PSAC 901—the union representing graduate teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and postdoctoral scholars—were involved with the “Fight for Fees” demonstrations. Graduate students have different challenges accessing education, having to consider research funding and teaching assistant positions, Yakubi added.
“We will continue to build on this momentum to continue mobilizing alongside Queen’s University students and continuing our fight for free education,” Yakubi said.
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