A letter from the MLA for Fort Richmond, Winnipeg

As the MLA overseeing an area vibrant with those in the post-secondary community, it is my responsibility to listen and engage with students’ concerns and provide them with valuable information. I understand that Bill 33 has become a topic of conversation as of late, and I would like to clarify some important aspects of this bill.

Bill 33 makes amendments to the Advanced Education Administration Act. The main purpose of this bill is to ensure that post-secondary students have access to high-quality, affordable post-secondary education today and into the future.

In fact, this bill will bring additional oversights to protect students from significant increases in course fees and other fees. However, it is important to note that student union fees will not be affected whatsoever. All fees set by student unions and associations are approved democratically by students and are specifically excluded from this bill’s definition of “student fees.”

As well, Bill 33 will not affect student group funding, such as transit U-Passes, campus publications, food bank services, safe-walk services or other campus programs. We recognize that these services are important to post-secondary institutions and we know the value students expect to see from their student union fees.

After additional consultation on this bill, Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Wayne Ewasko heard the concerns raised by students that Bill 33 could be clearer in order to ensure these exceptions are guaranteed, regardless of the government of the day. In response, the minister is currently looking into options to resolve this, including a possible bill amendment.

I can attest that this bill presented by the Manitoba government will allow it to adapt to the changing needs of students, institutions, employers and the labour market. This flexibility is of particular significance as we continue to work with our post-secondary partners to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I hope that this provides students, and all those in the post-secondary community, with clarity and an understanding of what Bill 33 is meant to achieve. I look forward to supporting this bill to protect students and enhance post-secondary education.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to my MLA office.

Sarah Guillemard,
MLA for Fort Richmond