Fanshawe part of federal pre-budget consultations
Credit: EMILY STEWART
London stakeholders came to Fanshawe College on Jan. 15 for federal pre-budget consultations.
Representatives from Fanshawe, Western University and the City of London, among others, participated in the pre-budget consultations roundtable discussion in a conference room on Jan. 15.
Mona Fortier, the minister of middle class prosperity and the associate minister of finance, said at a press conference following the meeting that issues addressed include fighting climate change and how it fits in building a global economy. Fanshawe and Western representatives brought up how important it is to ensure that post-secondary graduates enter the workforce with transferrable skills and that students are connected to internship opportunities.
“They wanted, really, to share the fact that we should work with the learning institutions to make sure that we have the right programs,” Fortier said. “Today was really a listening opportunity to not only learn from the institutions, but also from other parts — so [the] workforce and even the social issues that we have here in London.”
Kate Young, MP for London West, said the College planned the meeting quickly, as she only found out about the possibility of a roundtable pre-budget consultation just earlier that week. Stakeholders present at the meeting brought up that the government should make their programs more accessible.
“We know that London has great potential. We know it has challenges and that’s one thing we wanted to hear on the ground and wanted to make sure that the minister heard first-hand all of the concerns that Londoners have,” Young said. “So [we] want to thank Fanshawe for making it happen.”
Julia Brown, the finance coordinator for the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU), was part of the roundtable discussion. She said in an email statement that industry leaders covered topics such as supporting international and domestic students on their post-secondary journey, bringing skilled workers to the job market, and more inclusion of Indigenous leaders in decision-making processes.
Brown and representatives from Western addressed the need to increase the student loan interest grace period from six months to two years and increasing grants within academic programs to ease the burden of student loan debt. Brown also talked about increasing federal investments in green energy to offset changes made by the Ontario provincial government.
“We have students in several programs who are dedicating themselves academically and in their future careers to ensure we have a more sustainable future,” she said. “The government needs to make sure there’s opportunities for them to use their talents because ultimately their work will help us all.”
More information about the pre-budget consultations can be found on canada.ca/en/department-finance.html.