SGPS responds to CFS-O lawsuit over Student Choice Initiative

President Jeremy Abramska says focus is on compliance

President Abramska says focus is on compliance. 
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
SGPS President Jeremy Abramska says the Ontario government’s Student Choice Initiative will have a “dramatic effect” on his more than 4,000 graduate constituents.
 
The Canadian Federation of Students Ontario (CFS-O), an advocacy organization representing more than 30 student unions across the province—include the SGPS, filed filed an application for Judicial Review in Ontario’s Superior Court in an attempt to have the policy quashed.
 
In a written statement to The Journal, SGPS President Jeremy Abramska described the lawsuit as a “possible route of advocacy” for student organizations to reversethe policy.
 
In its application, the CFS-O wrote the former Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Merrilee Fullerton, acted “unlawfully” when the ministry deemed fees passed through democratic referenda “non-essential.”
 
The application also said the Minister was negligent by failing to consult with the relevant student organizations before announcing the policy in January.
 
Abramska said it’s important for student groups to continue to be vocal in advocating for student interests and ensure the message is heard by the province, but said preparing for the worst is necessary.
 
He added the current focus of the SGPS is working with the University to ensure compliance with the SCI.
 
Abramska explained the organizations need to “continue to communicate the challenges and to ensure that SGPS members will receive services, benefits and the opportunities that the SGPS has provided in the past.”
 
“While the lawsuit is ongoing, the SGPS will continue to work with the directive so long as it remains in force,” he stated. 
 
With the SCI set to take effect in September, Abramska said the SGPS has already taken measures to comply and has “reviewed processes and the budget for the upcoming school year.”  
 
“The biggest concern for the SGPS is protecting member-driven services and ensuring that we maintain our active advocacy and resources for SGPS members on campus,” he added. 
 
According to Abramska, the SGPS has also been working with the AMS to ensure they are still compliant with the directive since the announcement.
 
The Society has also been reviewing the internal processes of the SGPS to ensure that bursaries, grants, and services are affected as little as possible.
 
“The SGPS has taken an approach which will put it in the best position for this coming fall to ensure that we are prepared for the changes,” Abramska said. 
 

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