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After the college strike of 2017, college management has seen fit to offer two choices to students:  accept a full refund of the semester's tuition fees on withdrawal from the semester; or, accept "up to $500 for unexpected costs they incurred because of the labour dispute, such as childcare fees, rebooked train or bus tickets, or rent".

That's all fine and good for Canadian students.  But where does it leave international students who are held by legal contracts with the Canadian government which restricted their ability to increase their earnings during the strike?

Here are some figures (examples) to mull over:

  • Seneca's International Student Fees are approximately $6,500  per semester
  • George Brown's International Student Fees are approximately $7,500 - $15,000 per semester.
  • The college strike lasted 5 weeks out of the semester's 15 weeks (one third of the semester)

Whereas it's all well and good to reimburse Canadian students up to $500 for their out of pocket expenses, international students are out of pocket a whole lot more.  Not only that, their ability to increase their earnings for living expenses (rent, food, warm clothing, etc.) is now strangled because the semester has been extended into the Christmas holidays break.  Instead of being able to work full time hours for those three weeks, they will now spend two more weeks in college making up for lost time. (

How is that fair to international students who pay quadruple the regular fees?  They are restricted by the rules and regulations of Immigration Canada from increasing their earnings, and the pittance of $500 will not redeem much when their tuition fees are due again for next semester.

What would be a fairer settlement to international students would be to either reimburse or credit them 40% of their paid tuition fees towards the next semester.  They cannot afford to repeat the semester again due to the limitations imposed upon them by Immigration Canada.  Therefore, the first option offered by the colleges (withdraw this semester and repeat it next year) becomes null and void.  The $500 offer becomes an insult.

International students are an awakening resource for Canadian immigration.  They are the future citizens and taxpayers of our country.  They deserve better and fairer treatment.

We ask the Honorable Minister, the respected President and the Leader of the Union to please bear witness to the plight of the international students and do them justice.