United Against Bill 33

What is Bill 33?

Bill 33 proposes an amendment to the Advanced Education Administration Act. The bill would allow the government to issue guidelines on tuition fees or student fees. If these guidelines are not followed, the government may reduce funding grants to Manitoban universities and colleges.

Why should students be concerned?

The proposed language of Bill 33 challenges the autonomy of student associations and post-secondary education institutions by giving the provincial government control over student fees that fund essential student services like healthcare, transit, daycares, foodbanks, campus media, academic advocacy and more.

Funding cuts to university grants could also lead to university faculty and administration reductions, limited services, and higher tuition fees for students.

How does it affect the future of education?

The Manitoba government also plans to move towards “performance or outcomes-based funding models” for universities and colleges as part of their Skills, Talent, and Knowledge Strategy for Post-Secondary Institutions.

This model may allow the Province to withhold the grants or funds Universities receive based on metrics like graduation rates, graduate earnings, employment rates, and the economic impact of programs.

This could lead to universities offering more programs with higher economic impact over those with a social impact. It also affects equity of education as students with a higher chance of graduating may be prioritized, shifting the focus from needs-based to merit-based funding.

What your student leaders have to say!

“As an Indigenous student that has had the educational success thanks to the services that the UWSA provides, this legislation would make it harder to thrive. Bill 33 will make it more difficult for students who rely on essential services such as; student advocacy, daycare for children, food bank, U-pass, and health care, to have success, or even continue your education.”

– UWSA Vice-President External Affairs, Jonathan Henderson.

“Failure to scrap bill 33 is a direct attack on the democracy students have over their student unions,”

– UWSA International Students’ Directors

What’s the latest update?

Minister Ewasko, who oversees post-secondary education in Manitoba, has promised that Bill 33 would not affect the fees set by student unions and has acknowledged that the current language of the bill could be clearer.

However, Bill 33 has now passed second reading without an amendment and will soon move to committee hearings.

Fees are not the only things affected. The Bill also gives government greater power over post-secondary institutions by giving them the ability to penalize universities that might not follow the Province’s recommendations.

What can you do?

Amendments can also be presented at committee hearings where the public can submit oral and written presentations on the Bill. It is important for students to sign up to speak at committee hearings to ensure that Minister Ewasko amends the bill to exclude student organization fees, and share their concerns regarding the bill.

How do I sign up to speak out?

Bill 33 will be moving to the committee stage to become a law soon. Committee hearings are currently held online via Zoom. You can sign up to submit a written or oral presentation by following the steps below:

  1. Call the clerk’s office at 204-945-3636 to register. They will give you two days notice before the public hearing.
  2. Prepare a 10-minute presentation, laying out your concerns. You will also have 5 minutes to answer questions afterwards.
  3. Send a prepared copy of your presentation to committees@leg.gov.mb.ca.
  4. If you can’t attend the meeting, you can submit a written presentation to committees@leg.gov.mb.ca.

You can also sign this petition below!

Keep in touch:

Learn more about the campaign at @theuwsa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or email your VPEA, Jonathan Henderson at vpea@theuwsa.ca.

Important links:

Read Bill 33: https://web2.gov.mb.ca/bills/42-3/b033e.php

Learn how to present before Legislative Committees from former MLA Rob Altemeyer: https://www.facebook.com/164552380731568/videos/467018704430157

How to Make a Presentation before a Standing Committee: https://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/committees/presentation_how_to.html

Media Coverage:

The Manitoban
Winnipeg Free Press – March 12
Winnipeg Free Press – March 11
University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg