I’ve never been prouder to be a Liberal than I am right now. Our government under the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne has made unprecedented strides to make life easier, and more affordable for everyone in Ontario — and in particular Ontario’s young people. From Free Tuition and free online textbooks, to the new OHIP+ and our plan to increase the minimum wage, we have made so much progress.
Take a moment. These are policies that the Ontario Young Liberals have made possible:
The OYL has always believed that a young person’s decision to go to post-secondary education should not be determined by financial circumstances. That’s why we passed a policy at the 2011 Summer Fling (our annual policy conference) proposing a 30% off tuition grant. While significant, having that policy adopted into the 2012 Ontario Budget was only the first step towards creating more opportunity and fairness for students. Thanks to the new OSAP program that was introduced in the 2016 Ontario Budget, more than 210,000 students from across the province will be receiving Free Tuition this year. Beyond Free Tuition, more students will also benefit from larger grants and loans. In all, 80% of students will accumulate less provincial debt thanks to these important changes.
Pharmacare has also been a priority policy for the OYL. Our Liberal government is leading the way with our bold plan to cover the cost of over 4200 prescription drugs for people ages 24 and under as of January 1, 2018. The new OHIP+ is the first universal pharmaceutical care plan of its kind in North America. This plan will keep parents from having to choose between putting food on the table or paying for their child’s prescription medication. And through coverage for prescriptions like birth control, mifegymiso and PrEP, young people will be able to make decisions about their sexual health without having to worry about the cost.
The list goes on: from LGBTQ+ rights to increased financial literacy for students, we’ve always been leading the charge for progressive policies. While there is a lot we have to be proud of, we cannot afford to be complacent. In June 2018, we know that this is all at stake. Under the leadership of Patrick Brown, everything we have fought so hard for is up for grabs – ready to be thrown off the table.
But if I can be honest, I’m not too worried. If I have learned anything throughout my time in this Party, it’s that Young Liberals refuse to be complacent. Want proof? If we settled for “good enough,” we wouldn’t be seeing students with financial need go to post-secondary this year with Free Tuition. If we said: “it can’t be done,” young people would not start receiving free medication come January 1st.
Learn more about these important policies here, and join us as we continue our fight for progress. Who knows, you could help us figure out what our next game-changing policy will be!