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Movement marks largest exodus from student federation since 2009

Photo by Joey Coleman

OTTAWA (CUP)—More than a dozen post-secondary institutions across Canada have begun a move to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), according to a media release dated Sept. 4.

The CFS has 83 members across the country; Ontario has the most members.

The release cites “lost traction in a number of provinces” as the reason for the movement. With 15 schools involved, this marks the largest exodus from the organization since 2009, when 13 schools wanted to leave the CFS.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Capilano University from B.C.; the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union, Ryerson University, York University, and Laurentian University from Ontario; and Dawson College from Quebec have confirmed they will apply to host a referendum.

Previously, the Dawson Student Union was the only member from the province of Quebec that had not mobilized against the CFS. Currently, the Concordia Student Union and Graduate Students’ Association at Concordia University and McGill University’s Post Graduate Students’ Society are undergoing long legal battles with the CFS to recognize the results of their referendums and leave.

“You can’t be Canada without the province of Quebec,” said Nicholas Di Penna, the francophone spokesperson for the campaign and former director of external affairs for the Dawson Student Union. “They wouldn’t really be able to call themselves the CFS without the major province of Quebec.”

Ashleigh Ingle, spokesperson for Ontario, Central, and Eastern Canada, said other universities looking to defederate do not want to be revealed because they’re in the early stages of petitioning.

More to come.