By: Sophie Armstrong & Melissa Galevski
Ontario’s back-to-work legislation has forced college faculty and staff to return to their classrooms today following a five-week-long strike.
Ryerson’s collaborative nursing program is aiming to have the majority of its students back in class this week, including third-year students back in their clinical placements today, and clinical conferences resuming again on Nov. 23.
Nicole Baker, a third-year student in the collaborative nursing program between George Brown College and Ryerson, has been unable to fulfill her clinical placement hours, a major component of the program.
Baker was in the early stages of her placement at the Toronto East Detention Centre, which was put on hold when the strike began on Oct. 16.
“They want to get us back in the placement, but it’s done next week so what’s really the point?” Baker said.
In an email to the Ryersonian, Nancy Walton, director of the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson, said that finalizing contingency plans for students is a clear priority right now.
“We need to finalize these with our teaching teams across all three sites (Ryerson, George Brown and Centennial College) and ensure that they are both reviewed and approved as appropriate so students can have complete information as soon as possible.”
Baker takes her classes at Ryerson, so no class time was lost during the strike. But in addition to the time lost at her placement, she also could not complete components of her learning plan.
“As part of your learning plan you’re supposed to do some sort of project, whether it’s a workshop, a poster (or) presentation for your placement. I’m planning on doing a workshop, along with my other colleagues. But timeline wise, it was supposed to be this Wednesday, and nothing has been organized because we haven’t been there for five weeks,” Baker said.
Baker is also unsure if she will be eligible for the financial aid that will come from the net savings colleges have from not paying their striking staff during the labour dispute. Students are eligible for up to $500 in assistance, while those who completely withdrew from their programs are eligible for a full tuition refund.
“Tuition is expensive and it’s not really fair for students to be put out of the classroom, paying money towards an education and it dragging on for this long. Students should get something back,” Baker said.
She is hoping students in the collaborative nursing program will be taken into consideration for financial aid. Although they pay their fees to Ryerson, students have paid for their clinical practice course, which they have been unable to complete.
Walton said she does not have information as to whether collaborative nursing students will be reimbursed at this time.