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Engage Foundation Calls for Enhanced Accountability and Student Support in Ontario’s Higher Education

Press Release

April 16, 2024 | Toronto, ON


Toronto, Ontario - April 16, 2024 - In a significant move to improve the well-being of post-secondary students across Ontario, the Engage Foundation  formally submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. This submission is part of the consultation process for the forthcoming Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024. Dael Vasquez, Director of Policy & Government Affairs, and Emmy Egulu, Senior Outreach Specialist, played pivotal roles in crafting these recommendations to address three urgent issues within the province's higher education system.


Enhancing Mental Health Supports

Acknowledging the pervasive challenges of stress, anxiety, and depression among post-secondary students, the Engage Foundation advocates for the establishment of minimum standards for mental health services, including a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:1,000. The Foundation also calls for increased funding to expand mental health services and the development of peer support programs to promote mental wellness and resilience.


Addressing Incidents of Hate and Racism

In response to concerning reports of racism on campuses, the Engage Foundation urges the Ministry to require academic institutions to implement accessible reporting mechanisms, establish clear benchmarks for diversity and inclusion, and provide comprehensive training on anti-racism principles for faculty and staff. The Foundation also recommends allocating financial resources to remove racist imagery on campuses and penalizing universities that fail to address instances of racism within their institutions.


Ensuring Transparency Around Educational Costs

Transparency in educational costs is paramount for informed decision-making by students and their families. The Engage Foundation recommends requiring detailed breakdowns of ancillary fees and promoting affordable textbook alternatives. Additionally, the Foundation advocates for prohibiting the issuance of course packets and denying the collection of “high demand fees”.


“In light of the persistent mental health challenges faced by students, it's imperative that we secure additional funding to expand accessible and inclusive mental health support services across Ontario's campuses”

stated Emmy Egulu, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Echoing this sentiment, Dael Vasquez highlighted the need for direct action, saying, “Our recommendations embody a vision of a post-secondary education system that doesn't just talk about equity, diversity, and inclusion – it lives and breathes them as fundamental values for every student.”


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About The Engage Foundation

The Engage Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth and fostering their well-being through civic education and community engagement. With a focus on creating a supportive and inclusive environment for young people, Engage works collaboratively with stakeholders to address critical issues affecting youth in society.


For more information about Engage and its mission, visit https://www.engagefdn.com/about. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn @engagefdn.


Media Contacts:


Dael Vasquez

Director of Policy & Government Affairs


Emmy Egulu

Senior Outreach Specialist

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