News

The complex question will determine the future of student services at the U of O

The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) has released the full text of the referendum question that will determine whether union services can continue to collect existing student levies.

The expansive question on the union’s election ballot on April 3 will ultimately boil down to a yes or no answer.

The question breaks down fees into two categories in line with the Ford government’s Student Choice initiative (SCI) — essential and non-essential fees. Essential fees will need to be paid by all undergraduate students if the referendum passes, while non-essential fees will be eligible for opt-out. Neither type of fee will be collected at all in the event the referendum fails.

If the referendum passes, full-time students would pay mandatory union fees totalling $105.88 per semester. This fee would cover all core union functions including safety, academic support, and health services. An annual $245 charge for student health insurance would also be mandatory. This fee is optional for students with existing coverage but is deemed essential under the SCI. Both fees are slightly higher than the amount currently collected by the SFUO.

A yes vote also allows several non-essential fees to be charged by various on-campus organizations. Students may opt out of these fees when paying their tuition, however, details of this process are currently unknown.

A student life fee of $23 would cover funding for clubs, student orientation, and faculty associations. Campus media groups including CHUO 89.1, La Rotonde, and The Fulcrum would continue to charge fees individually for a total of $13.

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group would also be allowed to charge a fee of $4.02. Students were already able to opt out of this fee.

The U-Pass will continue to be mandatory regardless of the outcome of the referendum, as the program is run by the school administration and not the student union.