In 2009, the University of Toronto changed how they charged fees to students in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Instead of charging per-course fees, they started charging a flat fee – meaning that students would have to pay for five courses – even if they only took three. This amounted to a 66 per cent tuition fee increase for no service improvement.
We were a vocal opponent of the Access Copyright license and spent the last year lobbying the university to retract the deal. Access Copyright claimed that the license would provide students with the ability to use copyrighted works without penalty – a right already granted to students through the Copyright Act. Affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, students and researchers are permitted to use copyrighted works for educational purposes. Under the license, each student at the University of Toronto was charged $26 in fees that provided no service or protections for students.
In April 2013, we sent a letter to the Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi outlining our concerns with unpaid internships. Our letter soon went viral. Our President was asked to field media about the issue from the Huffington Post, the CBC, the National Post and dozens of other media outlets, bringing the concern of unpaid internships to the mainstream.
Our national students’ union, the Canadian Federation of Students, holds the only student seat on the Advisory Committee on International Students and Immigration (ACSI). ACISI provides Citizenship and Immigration Canada with recommendations on policy pertaining to international students.
In 2013, we received several requests from students regarding the ability to use Open Document Format (ODF) on UofT computers.
In 2012, we joined our fellow students’ unions in calling upon the university administration to undertake an ancillary fee review across the University. We made a submission that queried several questionable fees. The University found that some of the concerns were justified and has eliminated some ancillary fees. This is a major victory for us all!
We have a long and proud history of fighting for more multi-faith space for prayer and meditation on campus. We are so proud and excited that through our collaborative lobbying efforts between campus clubs involved in the Student Committee for Accessible Accommodation, and through the support of the Multi-Faith Centre, the University has created a new multi-faith prayer and meditation space at Robarts Library. This space is also accessible to community members who may not have a T-Card.
Working together with our coalition partners at the Public Water Initiative, we successfully pressured the University of Toronto to commit to going bottled-water free, phasing out the sale of all bottled water on all three campuses by September 2014. With this decision, UofT has made an important decision for sustainability on campus and joins over a dozen other campuses across the country that have pledged to go bottled water-free. UofT has also committed to increasing access to public water by installing more water fountains and water refill stations.
Working together with the Faculty of Physical Education and Health, we have managed to secure exclusive timeslots for the use of athletic space for UTSU clubs, and significant discounts on equipment rentals.
Prior to 2009, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) did not offer any student discounts for students in college or university. We used to bulk purchase thousands of adult Metropasses each year so that we could sell them at a discounted cost to our members.
In 2008 your students’ union, working together with students across Canada, won Canada’s first-ever national grants program. After a petition campaign and a national Day of Action, with thousands of students demonstrating in protests across the country, the Government of Canada agreed to create the program. The program created $350 million in grants, helping to alleviate student debt.
For a long time, the University of Toronto Mississauga campus was the only campus at UofT lacking a childcare centre. As a result, in 2005, we took matters into our own hands. We opened up a child minding centre at the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Centre to provide much-needed access to childcare for our members who are parents.
After years of lobbying provincial governments to freeze tuition fee increases, students across Ontario united through the Canadian Federation of Students finally won a tuition fee freeze in 2004. This saved students in Ontario more than $100 million in additional fees. We have done it before, and together we can do it again.
In the year 2000, we launched a massive campaign to convince the University to commit to ensuring that all UofT clothing materials were made in sweatshop-free facilities. After petitions, teach-ins and a sit-in at Simcoe Hall, the University implemented a no sweatshop policy.
Between 1983-1990, students at the University of Toronto undertook a massive campaign to have the University of Toronto divest entirely from all companies with ties to South Africa in protest of the Apartheid regime.
We established funding for the Centre for Women & Trans People at the University of Toronto St. George campus through by a levy collected and administered by UTSU. When the administration balked at providing the group space, we organized a camp-out on front campus and pressured the University into giving in. The Centre for Women & Trans People is located at 563 Spadina Ave., Room 10.
Hart House was established in 1919 by UofT alumnus Vincent Massey. In fact, the building was named in honour of his grandfather, Hart Massey.
After we occupied Simcoe Hall in 1972, the University administration finally conceded to our demand to allow undergraduate UofT students access to Robarts Library. Prior to 1972, Robarts was open only to graduate students.