Advocacy in action: students fight back against changes to subsidy eligibility requirements that would disqualify graduate students

Jan 25, 2013

Update: After a meeting with several municipal councillors, student advocates were assured that graduate students will remain eligible for subsidy and that all graduate students currently receiving subsidy will continue to receive it.

A change in Ottawa's child care subsidy policy caused a great deal of concern among graduate students and the child care community. The new policy could mean that students are only eligible for subsidy while obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree.

The general manager of social services for the City of Ottawa has said that the new policy does not deem graduate students ineligible for subsidy, but that they are ranked as the lowest priority and are thus unlikely to ever receive a subsidy. Click here to read an article in the Ottawa Citizen.

While the OCBCC has worked in the past to advocate that part-time students be eligible for a child care subsidy, these affected parents are full-time students who meet the provincial income test.

Women should be encouraged to pursue higher education, not provided with further barriers. These are full-time students at accredited post-secondary institutions and they qualify for a child care subsidy.

The Coalition's wrote an open letter to the Minister of Education requesting the legislative basis by which municipalities have the ability to deem a class of people (in this case graduate and post-graduate students) ineligible for child care subsidy despite their eligibility as a result of Ontario’s income test and their enrollment in full-time studies.

To read our letter, click here.

To read the letter from the Graduate Student Association of the University of Ottawa (GSAED) and the Carleton University Graduate Students' Association  to the Mayor of Ottawa and City Councillors, click here.

To read a letter from Dr. Wallace Clement, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs at Carleton University, click here.

For a letter from the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, click here.

Media:

January 10, 2013 - Metro Newspaper - Grad students miffed about child care aid exclusion

"Graduate students’ societies say they’re “shocked” to find out Ottawa City Hall is refocusing childcare funding to undergraduate and high school students.The move means that some masters'- and doctorate-level students who counted on the provincially funded, city-administered subsidies will have to shoulder the full burden of childcare costs.

“We are in a knowledge-based economy, and these student parents are trying to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” said Anna Goldfinch, vice president of Carleton’s Graduate Students’ Society. “It’s completely unfair for them to be penalized for pursuing that.”

The city’s policy changed in September 2012, according to Ottawa’s General Manager of Community and Social Services Aaron Burry. It now reads that students, excluding those enrolled in masters or doctoral courses, are eligible for funding."

To read the complete article in Metro Newspaper, click here.

U of O Law Student says city child care policy is unfair - Ottawa Citizen, click here.

For coverage on the CBC radio show Ottawa Morning, click here.

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