In a unanimous decision, the Divisional Court of Ontario ruled in favour of student groups in a legal challenge over the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) — a directive from the province’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) that allowed students to opt out of certain incidental fees. The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS–O) announced today that its legal challenge of the SCI was successful, deeming the mandate unlawful.

In its application for judicial review, filed on May 24, the CFS–O and the York Federation of Students (YFS) claim that the MTCU breached the legal principles of procedural fairness and natural justice by failing to meaningfully consult student groups on the SCI. 

The YFS and the CFS–O, represented by Goldblatt Partners LLP, and the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) as an intervenor, represented by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, argued in front of the Divisional Court in October that the ministry was overstepping its authority in its implementation of the SCI and alleged that the initiative was specifically designed to target student associations.

The CFS–O also released a statement, saying: “Today the Ontario Divisional Court has confirmed what students already knew: The Student Choice Initiative is unlawful, and the Ford government acted beyond their authority.” Kayla Weiler, Ontario representative of the CFS, continues: “Doug Ford’s attempt to wipe out students’ unions under the guise of giving students ‘choice’ has been exposed for what it really was: an attempt to silence his opposition.”

The Varsity has reached out to the MTCU for comment.

This story is developing, more to come. 

Editor’s Note (November 21, 7:24pm): This article has been updated to reflect the UTGSU’s role and representation in the legal challenge, and the Ontario CFS’ statement.