Elections and disputes lead 2010-11 headlines

G20 protests and arrests
Originally reported June 30

The largest reported mass arrest in Canadian history took place during the G20 summit, which was held in June 2010 in downtown Toronto. Most of the unrest came between June 26-27, when police engaged in standoffs with as many as 10,000 protesters, according to the CBC. Numerous sections of the downtown transit, including subways, streetcars and roads, were shut down and the airspace over downtown Toronto was closed.

Countless storefronts were damaged, while hospitals and the Eaton Centre were closed down. Still haunted with stories of police brutality, mass arrests and public inquiries, there still remain a growing number of protesters launching lawsuits against Toronto police, and many await trial on charges relating to the protests.

–Compiled by Alanna Wallace

OSAP improvements
Originally reported Sept. 2

Following the provincial budget announced in Mar. 2010, the Ontario Student Assistance Program saw many reforms to improve access to loans available for post-secondary students. $81 million was added to the student aid budget, which went to simplifying the application process and amalgamating assessments for grants that previously required separate applications. The maximum funds available to students also increased to $12,240, reflecting increases to tuition and cost of living.

Another feat for students in the OSAP reforms was the improvement to the in-school income exemption. The limit that students can earn per week during the school year was increased from $50 to $100 to provide fair funding to students with part-time jobs.

–Compiled by Linda Givetash

Second reading week
Originally reported Jan. 27

Schools across the province this academic year deliberated the option of introducing a fall reading week. On Jan. 25 the Ryerson University student senate passed a motion to shorten the fall semester in order to make room for the break. The greatest difficulty at most institutions is finding the extra time in an already constrained semester.

The University of Alberta Students’ Union held a plebiscite to ensure student support for beginning the fall semester at the end of August to account for the extra week. For the first time this academic year, the University of Ottawa experienced a fall reading week in October. By eliminating days during the fall exam period, one day from their orientation week and their “University of Ottawa Day,” they were able to create the break. The question of a fall reading week was brought to Wilfrid Laurier University as well and the idea continues to be up for discussion.

–Compiled by Linda Givetash

The municipal election in Toronto was a heated race as the controversial candidate Rob Ford took the lead for the role of mayor.

Focusing on fiscal responsibilities and putting a stop to the “gravy train,” Ford took an unconventional approach to relaying his platform of spending cuts and a declaration that Toronto cannot “deal” with new migrants. Despite his questionable professionalism and instances of outbursts both in city council and in public, Ford won Toronto by a landslide.

–Compiled by Linda Givetash

Copyright disputes
First reported Sept. 22, 2010.

Prior to the expiry of their tariff agreement with Canadian universities Dec. 31, 2010, Access Copyright proposed changes to the way it would charge for licensing copyrighted course materials such as those compiled into coursepacks. A national copyright licensing body, Access made clear early in the school year that it planned to alter the way it charged universities, creating a flat $45 rate per student in place of the existing $3.38 flat rate plus ten cents for each copied page.

Anticipating increases to the amount of money they would have to fork over to the firm, some universities opted out of the services Access offers, instead approaching copyright holders individually for clearance.

Wilfrid Laurier University chose to remain with Access and accept the decision of the copyright board whether the tariff is permissible sometime in the future – also accepting any retroactive charges if the altered tariff is allowed.

In the meantime, the university, and others in the same position, have been allowed to continue to pay the previous tariff until a decision is made.

–Compiled by Mike Lakusiak