Ottawa

Student unions promise to make noise during election

University student groups say they'll make sure their voices are heard on issues such as loans, jobs and Indigenous inclusion.

National campaign wants candidates to weigh in on loans, jobs, Indigenous inclusion

Student unions are promising to make their issues election issues for federal candidates. (CBC)

University student unions across Canada say they'll to make sure their voices are heard during this fall's federal election.

The University of Ottawa Students' Union, Algonquin College Students' Association and Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) have signed a national letter with other student groups, calling for party leaders to commit to three key policies. 

Those include eliminating interest on student loans, doing more to help students get jobs when they graduate and ensuring more Indigenous students are able to participate in post-secondary education. 

Sam Schroeder, the University of Ottawa Students' Union's advocacy commissioner, said with recent cuts to Ontario's grant and loan program they're hearing from a lot of students who say they can't afford school

Post-secondary institution is a provincial responsibility, but Schroeder said on CBC Radio's All In A Day that doesn't allow for the federal government to completely sit out the issue. 

"It is now more important for the federal government to be doing their part," he said.

CUSA's vice-president of student issues said students are motivated and candidates ignore them at their own peril. 

"They should care because students are going to be a massive population that are going to be voting," said Sissi De Flaviis.

"Students are starting to be more mobilized. They are starting to care more about their elections."

Voter turnout for eligible voters age 18 to 24 jumped from 38.8 per cent in 2011's federal election to 57.1 per cent in 2015, according to Elections Canada.

University students across Canada want to make sure their concerns are heard ahead of the federal election. Dozens of student groups signed on to a letter addressed to all federal party leaders--with a list of priorities for them to keep in mind. We'll hear from student representatives here in Ottawa. 7:24

CUSA is organizing an all-candidates debate on campus and helping students with information on how and where to vote.

Schroeder said they will be doing much of the same at the U of O.

With files from CBC Radio's All In A Day

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