Fees that support student unions and other campus groups will no longer be mandatory, according to new post-secondary tuition and ancillary fee guidelines from the Ontario government.

On Friday, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities released a long-anticipated framework that will govern exactly what a publicly supported university or college may deem an “essential service” requiring compulsory fees.

Included on the list of essential services are:

  • Athletics and recreation
  • Career services
  • Student buildings
  • Health and counselling
  • Academic support
  • Student ID cards
  • Student achievement and records
  • Financial aid offices
  • Campus safety programs

Health and dental programs have also been deemed essential services. However, students may opt out should they prove pre-existing coverage.

The framework also states that transit passes without a fully executed plan in place by Jan. 17, 2019 cannot be deemed essential, which would exclude the RU-Pass from mandatory fees.

According to the framework, it will be up to the university and the student governing body to determine what exactly falls within the list of essential services.

“All compulsory ancillary fees levied by a university or related institution must be approved by the governing body, be announced prior to collection through the institution’s calendar and/or published fee schedule(s) and be collected for the purpose of delivering an essential service as per Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ ancillary fee classification framework.”

Students must also be given an opportunity to opt out of non-essential service fees online, prior to the collection of any payments.

The fees that currently support the Ryerson Students’ Union subsequently fund campus organizations like the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line and the Good Food Centre.

The report also confirmed the 10 per cent tuition fee decrease for the 2019/2020 year, with a set freeze until 2020/2021.

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