Late Friday afternoon, the Wynne government issued a statement ordering Ontario’s 24 colleges to establish a fund from money saved during the 4-week strike, in an effort to help students who are being adversely affected by the labour impasse.

“Since the strike began, I have been clear that my focus is on students and their learning. I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of student leaders and their provincial associations. I have heard from them about hardships students are experiencing as a result of this strike. Students have been in the middle of this strike for too long and it's just not fair.” said Deb Matthews, the Minister of Advanced Education.

Matthews said the students she spoke with made it clear that they are worried about their semester, their year and their finances, and it’s time to step in and get them some help.

“That is why I am requiring that colleges establish a dedicated fund with all the savings from the strike. The fund will be used to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the strike. I will work with students and colleges starting immediately to develop the parameters of the fund. We need to work out the details together and we will do it quickly.”

Matthews said it’s a challenging time for everyone, but particularly for students. She said in the coming days, she looks forward to working directly with student leaders and colleges on how best to lessen the impact of the strike on students.

“They deserve our support.” said Matthews.