Community college students downtown in Toronto rallied in support of their striking professors, instructors and teaching assistants on Thursday.

Dozens of students gathered at the corner of Bay and Bloor streets at noon, before marching to the Ontario Ministry of Education office and Queens Park. Students also demonstrated at York University.

James Fauvelle, a second-year social service student at Centennial College, came out to support teaching staff and said job security for them means a better experience for students.

"When you're part-time staff and have 300 students, you can't comment on everybody's thesis paper, you can't comment on everyone's assignment," said Fauvelle. "So we're not growing as students."

Some full-time professors also attended in a show of solidarity.

Rachel Laramie, a professor at Centennial College, stressed that many part-time teaching staff have master's degrees and are trying to make ends meet while providing for their families.

"We drank the Kool-aid that if we got a good education and a good profession, so we'd have job security, but it just seems to be more and more precarious work," she said.

More than 60,000 Ontario college students have also signed an online petition demanding their money back because of a strike by faculty members, but the dean of students at Humber College previously told CBC Toronto it's too early to talk about tuition refunds.

In total, roughly 500,000 students across the province are affected by the strike at 24 Ontario colleges.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians, failed to reach a deal with the College Employer Council before a strike deadline.

The union is demanding more full-time positions (50/50 ratio of full-time to non-full-time staff), and an increased role for faculty in academic decision-making 

The College Employer Council council has offered a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years and improved conversion of contract faculty to full-time positions.

With files from Alison Chiasson