Student Choice Initiative struck down in divisional court

The Divisional Court of Ontario unanimously struck down the SCI on Thursday.
Journal File Photo

In a unanimous decision, the Ford government’s Student Choice Initiative (SCI) was ruled unlawful by the Divisional Court of Ontario on Thursday.

First reported by The Varsity, the Divisional Court of Ontario ruled in favour of a collective of student groups on Nov. 21, including the York Federation of Students (YFS), the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS-O), and the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU), in their judicial review against the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).

The Ford government introduced the SCI in January, giving students the choice of opting out of fees deemed “non-essential” by the Ministry. At universities across the province, student fees support organizations ranging from student unions and newspapers to campus food banks and sexual assault centres.

“Ourselves and our predecessors in the AMS spent an immense amount of time reorganizing our governance structures, advocating for things that would protect student opportunities and student jobs, so it definitely was surprising to see that the [Student Choice] Initiative got struck down in court,” AMS President Auston Pierce said in an interview with The Journal.

The application for judicial review was filed on May 24 by the CFS-O, denouncing the implementation of the SCI as unlawful and an overstep of the Ministry’s mandate. The court first heard arguments on Oct. 11.

“I’m in contact with other presidents at student unions across the province right now and we’re just waiting and watching. We’ll be making a statement when we know more information,” Pierce said.
This story is developing and will be updated with more information.

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