Ontario government vows to curb illegal fees on heels of class action lawsuit

The Ontario government publicly announced that colleges cannot legally charge ancillary fees for academic or capital costs. The announcement came only days after two students launched a $200-million class action lawsuit against the provinces colleges, arguing that they have been charging the computer, laboratory, locker, and other fees illegally for years.

But the students are not letting the government off the hook. They threatened to name the government in the lawsuit as well for turning a blind eye to the fees. They also say that under-funding colleges led to college’s being forced to charge the fees.

“Ontario is ninth out of ten in government funding for colleges,” said Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, a student lobby organization that is supporting the student lawsuit. “The government has essentially employed a strategy of under-funding in which they have allowed colleges to charge hidden tuition fees with a wink and a nod.”

But not all students agree that the fees are not appropriate. The student president at Sault College told the Sault Star that the charges were fair. He said that the student government has been monitoring the fees closely and new charges are always determined in consultation with students.