This injunction is valid until the final determination of the lawsuit is reached
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ordered that Ryerson comply with its obligation under the 1986 agreement until the final determination of a lawsuit involving the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and the university is reached.
Under the terms of the injunction granted Monday, Ryerson University is required to release the student fees it has withheld to the RSU. The court also ordered the school recognize the RSU as “the student association which represents students enrolled at Ryerson.” This injunction is valid until the final determination of the lawsuit is reached.
An injunction is a judicial order that restrains a party from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another. The RSU’s lead lawyer, Alexi Wood, said Friday that if the court doesn’t grant the injunction and release the withheld funds it could result in the RSU ceasing to exist and could compromise its ability to continue fighting its case in court.
“The… RSU welcomes today’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision, requiring the university to release the student fees it has been withholding since last January,” the RSU said in a statement. “These fees fund vital student services like sexual violence and equity supports and health and dental coverage.”
The RSU sought the injunction Friday as an interim measure while it waits for the court to hear its lawsuit against the university. The union sued Ryerson for $2.7 million in damages over the termination of its operating agreement on Jan. 24.
The court noted that the RSU has a strong case at first glance, meaning the judge was satisfied there is a “strong likelihood” that the applicant (the RSU) will be ultimately successful in proving the allegations.
Justice Markus Koehnen noted that the disagreements largely pertain to fiscal controls and governance concerns, and “are issues that are more easily resolved through discussion and compromise than through litigation.”
“It strikes me that much of the current dispute is caused by mutual misunderstanding and by both sides taking positions that may have been more rigid than was necessarily ideal,” the court stated in its decision.
“The RSU has been clear from the start: students should decide who represents them, their priorities and how they are held accountable,” the union noted in its statement.
The Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) released a statement shortly after the news of the granted injunction came to light. “We are very happy to hear that an injunction has been granted and that the university has been stopped from setting a very dangerous precedent,” CESAR president Nicole Brayiannis stated.
“We look forward to both the RSU and Ryerson University going back to the negotiating table to discuss steps forward so that students can get the services they require. The RSU must continue to improve their financial systems and democratic processes in the best interests of students,” she said.
On Tuesday, the university released a statement in response to the injunction hearing. The university “respects the court’s decision to grant the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) an injunction,” and “looks forward to working with the RSU to ensure that a model of good governance and financial accountability forms the basis of a partnership that puts the student experience first.”
The Ryersonian has reached out to RSU president Vanessa Henry for comment on the granted injunction.
This story is developing and will be updated with more information.
With files from Taline Loschiavo and Katie Swyers