Students from across northeastern Ontario were in Ottawa to lobby for lower tuition fees.

More than 150 student leaders were in Ottawa this week meeting with politicians and advocating for lower tuition fees and a raft of other student issues.

A geography student from Nipissing University said it might be harder to be a student in northern Ontario than anywhere else in Canada right now.

“In Newfoundland, tuition’s about $2,500 and same with Quebec,” Corey Grist said.

“In northern Ontario, tuition’s more than $7,000.”

On top of that, the cost of food and public transportation, staples of any student budget, are higher in northern Ontario, and Grist said it’s a crisis level for university students.

Grist met with several Members of Parliament, including former environment minister Peter Kent.

He said the discussions went well.

“They were quite receptive meetings,” he said.

“They acknowledged the issue is affecting students and Canadians as a whole. Now, we hope they take these recommendations and bring them forward.”

Not a ‘crisis’

A professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education said there is a small silver lining.

“Let me put it in context. I’m from the States and the level of debt students have incurred, at least from federal sources, is well beyond a trillion dollars,” Tony Chambers said.

“Our situation here in Canada, I just don’t think it’s a crisis.”

The student leaders hope their issues will be raised at the Conservative Party Convention next week in Calgary.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Peter Kent as the environment minister. He was in fact succeeded by Leona Aglukkaq in July 2013 and no longer holds that office.
    Oct 24, 2013 12:37 PM ET