Victories

Student Federation of the University of Ottawa

  • In 2014, with a commitment to being a democratic and membership driven organization, the SFUO won the right to implement General Assemblies as the highest decision making body of the students’ union.
  • In 2013, the SFUO won back our right to appoint student representatives to the University of Ottawa Senate Appeals Committee. The University of Ottawa had violated the well-established rules and practices regarding the nomination of student representatives at the Senate Appeals Committee in order to hand-pick students.The Senate Appeals Committee is a sub-committee of the Senate and the highest appellate body for individual appeals at the University of Ottawa. The SFUO strongly opposes any University action that would shift the nomination rights for student representatives from the student body to the administration.
  • In 2013, the SFUO successfully fought off a harmful university policy proposal that sought to give professors the right to ban students’ personal electronic devices (PEDs) in the classroom. The SFUO recognizes that students have a variety of learning styles, and therefore require a variety of supports to best succeed in the academic environment, including PEDs. Students have the right to confidentiality regarding their learning needs, and any regulation that prevents access to laptops in classrooms compromises that confidentiality. Not all students who require PEDs for disability purposes are registered with Access Services and are able to access a university-recognized accommodations plan. Students have serious responsibilities other than school, such as having dependents and being employed and, in many cases, require access to cellphones and online accounts at all points of the day. Students at the University of Ottawa are often registered in classes in their non-dominant language and therefore use PEDs to access online language tools. We will therefore continue to fight classroom policies that police student behaviour and impose assumptions on students’ capacities.
  • In 2013, the SFUO successfully fought-off the implementation of mandatory meal plans for our members living in residence.
  • In 2013, as a part of a larger campaign for decolonization, the SFUO hosted the first ever celebration of Indigenous Cultures and Pow Wow at the University of Ottawa.
  • After advocating for our members with uOttawa Housing Services, students living in residence will have access to uOttawa wifi for the first time in Fall 2013.
  • The SFUO successfully lobbied uOttawa Food Services to eliminate the $0.25 charge to use debit at campus food outlets.
  • In May 2013, the Chair of the uOttawa Board of Governors motioned to have a single vote on a tuition fee increase of 3% for 4 consecutive years, without any consultation, negotiation or accountability to students. The SFUO mobilized our membership, and in response the motion was amended to a vote on tuition fees for only one year.
  • In the constant fight for student representation on uOttawa governing bodies, in 2012 students won an additional undergraduate seat on the highest decision making body – the Board of Governors.
  • Following a campus-wide equity audit, in 2012 the SFUO restructured to prioritize equity at an institutional level with the introduction of an executive position with the mandate of equity.
  • As a part of the ongoing process of implementing a complete strategy to prevent and address human rights issues on campus, an anti-harassment and discrimination policy (67.a) was ratified in February 2012 after numerous years of student advocacy and consultations. The accompanying procedure is currently being revised, and students have advanced their concerns for amendments in order to strengthen the procedure and to ensure procedural fairness.
  • The SFUO successfully lobbied uOttawa Sports Services to create a Sports Services Advisory Committee in 2012, allowing for student input in the decision-making of this entity funded by students.
  •  Students have long fought for affordable public transit in the city of Ottawa and in 2010 SFUO members won a Universal Bus Pass for full-time students, at a rate significantly lower than standard fares.
  • In 2010, uOttawa became the first university in Ontario to put a complete and immediate stop to the sale of bottled water on its campuses.
  • In 2010, the SFUO won the elimination of the accommodation charges for students with disabilities who are medically recommended to take a reduced course load and were forced to pay the cost of full-time study. These students now have access to a bursary to account for the cost of the full-time status.
  • In February 2010, a new, bigger, more accessible, centrally located, student managed multi faith space was opened in the University Centre following successful collaborative lobbying with the SFUO in partnership with the University of Ottawa Muslim Students Association.
  • The SFUO won 24-hour library access during final exam periods for our members in 2009.
  • In 2009 the SFUO successfully lobbied Sports Services for the implementation of women-only gym hours, creating a safe(r) space for women who wish to work out in women-only exercise spaces.
  • After several years of debate and discussion, the SFUO won a fall reading week for its membership beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. This was a huge win for the student experience at uOttawa, as the fall reading week allows more time for students to prepare for mid-semester assignments and exams, reduces stress levels, and provides for a more balanced semester.
  • In 2008, students voted in favour of joining the Canadian Federation of Students; a united voice for students provincially and nationally.
  • In April 2008, the SFUO mobilized our members to successfully shut down a harmful proposal for a student code of conduct by uOttawa administration. This code sought to limit and criminalize student behavior; from being penalized to nap on campus, to regulating student demonstrations. In a big day of action, students on this campus said No to the Code!
  • In 2007, the SFUO gained student representation on Action Sandy Hill (ASH). ASH is a community association of the Sandy Hill neighbourhood, the neighbourhood in which the University of Ottawa main campus is situated.

 

United voices make gains. When we have a common voice and approach student organizing collectively, we’ve been able to gain many victories. Here are just a few examples:

The Canadian Federation of Students: Ontario

  • In 2013, the Ontario government announced significant changes to tuition fee billing, including raising the course threshold required to charge flat fees, eliminating graduation fees and mandating tuition fee splitting (to a per-semester basis) at institutions upon request, without incurring a fee. These changes were a direct result of united student lobbying at the provincial level
  • In 2013, the Ontario government responded to the Federation’s call for increased protection of student workers by making a commitment to cover interns, co-ops and work term students under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • The Ontario Liberal Party committed to investing $430 million in a new grant during the 2011 provincial election as a result of student pressure
  • The CFS campaign for more funding for Ontario colleges and universities resulted in $310 million for the sector for 2010-2011. Post-secondary education was one of the few areas to receive a funding injection rather than funding cuts in the 2010 Ontario Budget
  • The Ontario government introduced the province’s first part-time grant as a result of students lobbying for more financial assistance for part-time students
  • The 2010 Ontario Budget heard the Ontario Graduate Caucus’ call for more Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) and responded by increasing the number of OGS by 50%
  • The Ontario government implemented the Federation’s recommendations to commit funding for the creation of a province-wide credit transfer system
  • Students won a fully-funded, two-year tuition fee freeze in Ontario from 2004 to 2006

The Canadian Federation of Students

  • In 2014. with all post-secondary students in the province united as members of the Federation, the CFS-NL won the elimination of student loans, replaced by non-repayable grants in Newfoundland and Labrador. This decision resulted from 15 years of progressive investments in post-secondary education by successive Newfoundland and Labrador governments, including years of tuition fee reductions and a long-standing tuition freeze in the province making Newfoundland and Labrador tuition fees the lowest in the country.
  • Twenty-three campuses have gone bottled-water free since 2009 when the Federation’s “Back the Tap” campaign was launched, joined by nearly 100 municipalities, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 11 school boards and many workplaces across Canada
  • The Federation won zero interest on student loans in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2009
  • The Federation won a tuition fee freeze in Nova Scotia in 2008
  • Following the receipt of tens of thousands of petitions for the Federation’s “Grants Not Loans” campaign, the federal government introduced Canada’s first national system of grants in 2008, saving students up to $430 million per year. For the first time in Canada’s history, students across Canada are able to access federal, non-repayable grants of up to $3,000, solely based on financial need.
  • The Federation won a tuition fee freeze in New Brunswick in 2007. In the same year, the government of Prince Edward Island reduced tuition fees.
  • The Federation won a tuition fee freeze in Saskatchewan in 2006.
  • Federally, the Federation secured $1.5 billion in 2005 to improve access and another $800 million in 2007 to increase the quality at universities and colleges.
  • In 2005, the Federation’s recommendation to allow international students to work off-campus was implemented across Canada.