Student Choice Initiative defeated in Ontario Divisional Court

Katie Ramirez
November 24, 2019

In its unanimous ruling, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court said the government's decision to enact the policy was beyond its legislative authority. "The SCI directly interfered with our campus stations' ability to conduct the normal activities of supporting and training students across the province". The groups said the change was arbitrary and threatened student-led programs such as clubs, campus newspapers, food banks and other support services, and part-time jobs. "We kept the students our main focus".

"We took the government to court and won!" the organizations proclaimed.

"This is a historic moment for our movement, and it shows that the students united will never be defeated!" The services and representation provided by the students' union are paid for by students' union dues that have been democratically set by members.

Jenessa Crognali, press secretary for Attorney General Doug Downey's office, told the Canadian Press Thursday that the ruling is being reviewed.

"I've been cautiously optimistic about this for a little while", said CJAM station manager Brady Holek, who has been following the fight through Ontario courts. B'nai Brith will intervene again if it does.

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Cameron noted they are always looking for volunteers who would like to donate some time to standing with a kettle. He said all the money that is raised with the Red Kettles goes toward their efforts to continue their programs .

"As an intervenor in this case, B'nai Brith Canada sought to raise the voices of Jewish and pro-Israel students in light of student unions' troubling programming and policies against these students' interests", the two lawyers wrote in a statement.

"Indeed, aside from the statement made by the Premier in the fundraising letter, no explanation is provided by Ontario as to why Cabinet concluded that, of all the components of ancillary fees charged to college and university students, only one - student association fees - was deemed by Cabinet to be non-essential", the decision reads. A few days before, a representative of the University of Toronto Graduate Students Union refused to support access to kosher food on campus because of Hillel University of Toronto's Zionist identity.

Campus groups across the province have been mounting campaigns in response to the initiative for a number of months now, urging students to opt-in to paying fees towards campus services.

The council will attempt to secure more funding from the Trudeau government for health care, broadband infrastructure and transit and also work to end interprovincial trade barriers and attract global investment to Ontario, the government says.

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