Fife reflects on issues of transit, education

File Photo by Heather Davidson

File Photo by Heather Davidson

Last year, Member of Provincial Parliament Catherine Fife expressed her concerns regarding accessibility to education and two-way all day GO trains when she was seeking re-election in Kitchener-Waterloo. Seven months after re-election, they are interests she is still fighting for.

“There are some general eligibility issues still outstanding with the 30 per cent tuition grant,” Fife said. “Improving access to education is the key to building a strong economy and addressing issues of inequality, which is a growing issue in Ontario and in Canada.”

Fife said there is a transit issue in K-W that has been affecting students and workers across the province. To date there has been one new GO train in the morning and one new train at night, which limits commuters in the area. In order to rectify this problem, Fife is still advocating for the implementation of two-way all day GO trains.

Fife has also been reviewing tenant and rental rights, especially concerning student housing.

“We have seen some pretty heartbreaking stories actually from students this fall — students who were promised housing and the housing was not ready, was not completed. Students lost their first and last month’s rent,” she said.

There is currently a petition called “Help for Ontario’s Tenants,” which promotes tenant rights, in particular the rights of student tenants. The petition calls upon the minister of housing and municipal affairs to review and revise a strategy around the Residential Tenancies Act.

Fife has also been looking into the issue of unpaid internships.

Peggy Sattler, MPP of London West and NDP critic for training, colleges and universities and research and innovation has introduced a bill which attempts to limit the growth of further unpaid internships. According to Fife, there has been a lot of pressure to crack down and investigate unpaid internships.

“The youth unemployment rate in Ontario is the highest across the country,” she added.

“You have new graduates and students looking for anything to get their foot in the door, and they are being taken advantage of.”

According to Fife, the upcoming budget promises to be the most painful budget in history, with a six per cent reduction targeted in every ministry except for education, health, justice, community and social services.

Despite this, reductions are still seen within these ministries on an ongoing basis.

“There are quite honestly … smart places to invest tax dollars. Education from my perspective is always worth fighting for.”

 

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