Update on Ancillary Student Fees (PDAD&C #55)

From:  Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students 
Date:  February 8, 2019 
Re: Update on Ancillary Student Fees (PDAD&C #55)

The Government of Ontario recently announced a Student Choice Initiative for some ancillary fees.  The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities indicates that the purpose of the initiative is to ensure transparency regarding the non-tuition fees students are expected to pay, bring consistency and simplicity to the opt-out process, and ensure students have more choice regarding the services and activities they support. 

The Ministry has indicated that the initiative introduces an ancillary fee classification framework that applies to non-tuition fees introduced through ancillary fee protocols or student societies. This new framework is to be in place for September 2019.

Recently, we were provided with further details regarding the initiative and what non-tuition fees are considered essential (and therefore compulsory) and non-essential.  The essential fees are as follows:

  • Athletics and recreation
  • Career services
  • Student buildings
  • Health and counselling
  • Academic support
  • Student ID cards
  • Transcripts, convocation, etc.
  • Financial aid offices
  • Walk safe programs
  • Existing compulsory transit passes
  • Health and dental plans are compulsory but must allow students to opt-out if they provide proof or pre-existing coverage

All other fees are non-essential and must be optional.  We are not aware of any leeway for the University to determine which fees are essential.  This is a binding policy directive.

Additionally, the Ministry has informed us that students must be able to opt-out before paying fees.  Refunds, as are done now through the respective student society, are not permissible.  Furthermore, opt-outs must be done online and the fees must be clearly identified.  The University may provide students with the ability to opt-in at a later date.

The University has not received the final framework and more details are expected from the Ministry.  In the meantime, we are looking at all fees in relation to the essential categories. 

My Office is reviewing all the fees in relation to the essential categories, working with our divisional partners, and have been in touch with all forty-five University of Toronto student societies with an offer to meet.