Ford must make colleges and universities safer for students and staff

NDP critic for Colleges and Universities Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre) is calling on the Ford government to invest in making campuses safer and provide guidance for all post-secondary institutions, as universities implement their own, new COVID-19 safety measures in response to rising cases and outbreaks.

“Students, faculty and staff at Ontario’s colleges and universities are anxious, and some have gotten sick. Ford still refuses to listen to them, and invest in campus safety,” said Lindo.

Queen’s and Western Universities are taking new measures including moving exams online and postponing exams that must be in-person, and sending more staff to work from home. But the province isn’t providing guidance, support or funding — leaving each school to figure out and fund its own safety plan.

“All along, colleges and universities should have been getting guidance and support from the provincial government. Every student at every Ontario school should know they’re getting equitable help and care to stay safe. Instead, we’re once again playing catch-up because Ford has refused to invest in campus safety. I’m worried that students, faculty and staff will end up paying the price,” said Lindo.

“It’s not too late for Ford to do the right thing by providing clear guidance for all college and universities this winter, and the funding to implement the safety plans. Smaller class sizes, on-site rapid testing, mental health supports, upgraded ventilation systems and any other COVID-19 safety upgrades can keep campuses safe, and Ford needs to come forward with the funding and help to make those things happen.”

Ontario NDP