November 21, 2017 6:14 am
Updated: November 21, 2017 8:45 am

Ontario college students return to class after strike ends

Ontario college students are returning to class this week following a five week faculty strike. They will also be eligible to receive up to $500 for incurred costs. Shallima Maharaj has the latest.

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Classes resumed Tuesday for about 500,000 Ontario students following a five-week faculty strike.

“I feel pretty excited and pretty relieved that we finally get to resume where we left off,” George Brown College student Andrienne Boothe said. “There’s going to be a lot of reviewing and going over how we’re going to change our schedule now.”

Some students say they are concerned about the condensed schedule and course workload until the end of the semester.

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“It kind of sucks because we have to come back for five weeks, have a three week break and then we have to come back for two weeks,” George Brown College student Melanie Chronopolous said. “You forget all your learning and stuff.”

READ MORE: Bill Kelly: 5 weeks Ontario community college students will never get back

The Ontario government said it is offering a full tuition refund to students who withdraw from this semester due to the length of the college strike.

Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews says the province’s 24 colleges will be expected to foot the bill for any refunds.

“I wouldn’t minded them scrapping the semester and starting fresh in the winter,” George Brown College student Brandon Medeiros said.

“Now that we’re back, I might as well finish what I started. No point in redoing everything again and coming back at a later date. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s out of our hands now.”

READ MORE: Bill passed to end five-week long Ontario college strike

The province said students will have two weeks from the resumption of classes on Tuesday to decide whether or not they want to continue with the condensed semester.

The government said students will also be eligible to receive up to $500 for unexpected costs they incurred because of the labour dispute, such as childcare fees, rebooked train or bus tickets, or rent.

“I happy finally that they stepped in a ruled them back to work because there was a delay in the semester,” George Brown College student Michael De Leo said.

“It’s a service that we paid for and I think we definitely have the right to pursue our education that we paid for.”

READ MORE: Ontario NDP rips Kathleen Wynne for only offering refunds to college students who drop out

The 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians, who had been on strike since Oct. 15, returned to work on Monday to prepare for students’ return.

Ontario’s Liberal government first tried to introduce and pass the back-to-work legislation in one fell swoop Thursday night but the NDP forced the legislature to sit through the weekend to debate the bill, ultimately passing it Sunday afternoon.

VIDEO: St. Lawrence College Staff and Faculty return to campus to begin preparing for classes on Tuesday

-With a file from Global News

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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