Ontario won’t challenge appeal decision on post-secondary student fees


TORONTO – The Ontario government says it will not seek to take a legal fight over post-secondary student fees to Canada’s highest court.

A spokesperson for the minister of colleges and universities says the province will not file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada after its directive making some student fees optional was struck down.

The so-called Student Choice Initiative allowed university and college students to opt out of paying certain ancillary fees, including those for student unions.

In August, the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the government’s challenge of a lower-court ruling that found the policy unlawful.

In its ruling, the Appeal Court found the directive conflicts with the legislation governing Ontario’s colleges and universities.

It wrote that if the province wants to impose such a policy, it first has to change the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act and the legislation that establishes each Ontario university.

The opt-out provisions were enacted in 2019 and caused many on-campus organizations to receive less funding. As a result, some organizations, such as student unions, campus media outlets, and LGBTQ support centres, had to lay off staff or cut back on services.