At IGNITE, we are always striving to find new ways to advocate for our students. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce our new membership with College Student Alliance (CSA) – an external college student advocacy organization. By joining CSA, we have the opportunity to participate in advocacy efforts for college students at the provincial level to help shape the future of post-secondary education for all Ontario students.
We understand that it is a transformative time for post-secondary students, especially here in Ontario. From the elimination of the Ontario Student Grant, the Student Choice Initiative, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear our community will benefit from active participation in advocacy discussions.
So, during the February Board of Directors meeting, we made the unanimous decision to join CSA. The organization advocates for things like better learning environments, increased financial support, mental health funding and equal learning opportunities.
“IGNITE is proud of our on-campus advocacy efforts and we are excited to advance these efforts on a provincial level as we recognize Ontario’s college students collectively deserve better provincial support,” said Ercole Perrone, IGNITE CEO. “By joining CSA, we continue our dedication to being a catalyst for student advocacy and an active contributor to the larger student union community.”
If you’re wondering about the work CSA does, check out some of their more recent success stories below.
Over a $10 million increase in mental health funding
In 2020 and 2021, CSA helped secure over an additional $10 million from the Government of Ontario to be used for mental health funding in the post-secondary education sector. This was accomplished through CSA’s long-term advocacy efforts and partnerships with other external advocacy groups, such as Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).
Expansion of broadband and cellular access
Following recommendations from CSA, in June 2020, the Ontario government announced an investment of $150 million to expand broadband and cellular access for those living in remote and rural areas. CSA emphasized that this expansion was necessary to ensure that all post-secondary students across Ontario had access to learn remotely.
Improved sexual violence policies
CSA has frequently lobbied for improved sexual violence policies for college and university campuses. In January 2021, the Ontario government announced its amendments to Regulation 131/16. These amendments will enforce stricter sexual violence policies on campus, while better protecting sexual assault victims.
OSAP and National Student Loan grace period
CSA and OUSA wrote joint letters to both the provincial and the federal government asking for “interest-free grace periods” for OSAP and National Student loan repayments to help lessen the financial burden for students during the COVID-19 crisis. The government listened to these recommendations and on March 18, 2020, announced they would be implementing these “interest-free grace periods.”
“The pandemic has shown us that now, more than ever, we need a united voice when it comes to advocating for Ontario’s college students,” said Tori Arnett, CSA President. “IGNITE recognizes that Ontario’s college students deserve better support; at CSA we are excited to have them join us in helping build that future.”
We are so excited to participate in future provincial advocacy and lobbying efforts. After all, advocacy is a part of who we are here at IGNITE. And we know by joining CSA, we can help make impactful and positive changes for our students.