What I need to know about the Ontario election
Ontario voters head to the polls on June 2. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the election process?
Ontario has 124 electoral districts, and candidates need to register to be on the ballot to begin campaigning. Ontarians then vote for their local candidate in their electoral district, and the candidate with the most votes becomes a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). The political party with the most elected MPPs usually forms the new provincial government, which meets in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and makes the laws that will govern the province.
Here is a list of the candidates:
PC Party of Ontario: Andrew Dowie
Ontario NDP: Gemma Grey-Hall
Ontario Liberal Party: Gary Kaschak
Green Party of Ontario: Melissa Coulbeck
Independent: Giovanni Abati
Independent: Nick Babic
Independent: Laura Chesnik
Ontario Party: Steven Gifford
New Blue: Sophia Sevo
None of the Above Direct Democracy Party: David Sylvestre
Who can vote?
To vote in the provincial election, you must be a Canadian citizen, a resident of Ontario, at least 18 years old, and preferably be on the Elections Ontario’s Voters List, which helps election officials know who is registered to vote on election day. You can register, update your information, or check to see if you are already on the Voters List at https://eregistration.elections.on.ca/en/home.
How can you vote?
There are two ways to vote for the provincial election, in person or by mail. If you wish to vote in person, take into account that there will be Covid-19 guidelines that you will have to follow, including but not limited to masks and physical distancing.
Why should students care about local politics?
The outcome will affect student’s life in the province in the coming years regarding education, housing, and healthcare regardless of immigration status.
Across Canada, tuition fees for domestic and international students have increased for the 2021/2022 academic year. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian students enrolled full-time in undergraduate programs pay, on average, $6,693 in tuition, up to 1.7% from the previous year, and international students, on average, pay $33,623 in tuition, up to 4.9% from the last academic year, making post-secondary institutions relied on income from international students as part of their revenue stream.
Delila Beshir, a third-year international student who has been in Windsor for four months, is not only concerned about tuition but also concerned about accommodation.
Ontario has been going through a nationwide housing and rental crisis that’s making it impossible for students to secure a roof over their heads. According to Homeless Hub, 4% or 80,000 Canadian post-secondary students experience homelessness every day, meaning they are sleeping on a couch, vehicle, or shelter. As a result of this crisis, rental scams and extortionate rates have increased, making students the number one target.
The mental health of many post-secondary students was also significantly impacted during the lockdown in Ontario. Domestic and international students find it hard to cope with isolation, online learning, reduced work hours, and job loss that helped finance their education.
Other areas of concern include a commitment to gender equity and access to public services.
“Students are directly affected by the elections, so it’s important to elect the proper person who can deal with some of these challenges and make life easier for us,” said Delila.
So whether you can or not participate in the electoral process, you need to pay attention to issues at stake that will affect your student life in Ontario in the upcoming years.