File photo: The Ryerson Student Centre. Maisha Islam/THE VARSITY

There has been an enquiry as to whether Ryerson University students have been purchasing International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) from the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). The Ryerson Student Union (RSU) has allegedly been unable to supply them. 

When asked about the inability to provide ISICs to their students, RSU president Andrea Bartlett explained that they have encountered problems with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).   

Bartlett claims that their membership services coordinator at the membership services office (MSO) has been waiting for the CFS to format and fix the system. “She was in contact with someone last semester, who eventually seemed to lose contact with… but emailed them again before the holiday break, and again in the new year. She never received a reply from any CFS representative who is responsible for maintaining the system,” Bartlett said. 

Bartlet added that “shortly before reading week, someone emailed ​our MSO coordinator from CFS asking what wa​s wrong, and ​she​ explained the above story. They said they would come by this past Friday at 4 to check out our laptop/system. They never came.” 

UTSU president Ben Coleman said that the UTSU “does not have the ability to provide ISICs to Ryerson students.”   

According to the ISIC website, members of the CFS may receive their ISIC for free at select issuing offices across the country, including through the UTSU and RSU respectively. For this reason, Bartlett says that she is “unsure why UTSU would charge Ryerson students for ISICs to begin with.” 

The membership services coordinator at the RSU contacted several nearby institutions and travel agencies asking for assistance in providing Ryerson students with ISICs in urgent circumstances. The RSU had been instructing students to go to Travel Cuts, a Toronto-based travel agency, or to contact OCAD or George Brown’s student unions for assistance.

Bartlett stated that she had not heard of any Ryerson students turning to the UTSU for their ISIC. “Neither myself or our MSO Coordinator have heard of students going to U of T to get an ISIC card currently, but if that’s the case we strongly advise them to first reach out to our MSO office,” she said. 

​“As far as we [the RSU] are concerned, we have done everything in our power given that the CFS has sole capacity to fix this situation, with no cooperation or willingness to resolve the issue from the CFS. It is very disappointing that an organization that our members pay into, are not able to receive the services that they pay for,” Bartlett said.

Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson for CFS Ontario, said that the CFS had visited Ryerson to fix their ISIC system. According to Hoilett , the two groups were supposed to meet over the reading week but could not agree on a time. Hoilett told The Varsity in a phone interview that the CFS had been in “constant communication and very accommodating” with the RSU.

This article has been updated to include a comment from Rajean Hoilett,  CFS Ontario Chairperson.

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