Hey Minister, aren’t you great?

I’m at the Ontario Legislative Assembly right now.

I will be trying to get Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities to answer a few questions on illegal ancillary fees.

I will do this following Question Period which is presently occurring.

A government backbencher is asking the Minister to talk about the "great" things he is doing to limit tuition increases. The Minister brags about regulations limiting the average of increases to 5% in regulated programs.

This is more than double the rate of inflation. What a great system.

The government backbencher: Hey Minister, how about all those great things you are doing to assist students financially.

The Minister is giving the same speaking points the government’s been using for years. They increased the assistance available as student loans and increased the maximum loan by 23%. This was three years ago and this fall will be the fourth year with the same maximum. Tuition is up over 15%, so that increase is down to under 8%. Add cost of the living (which is not properly factored into the loan formula) and this increase has been eaten up by inflation.

To summary, the Ontario government is increasing tuition but not increasing effective support for Ontario’s neediest students.

Not that this lack of proper loan support is limited to Ontario. Let’s me be clear, this government did a lot three years ago, the problem is that student supports need constant improvement and three years is getting to be too long.