By Nicole Schmidt
While Ryerson full-time students are given automatic access to health and dental coverage, the part-time student community hasn’t had the same opportunity.
Because of that, the continuing education students association of Ryerson (CESAR) is holding a health and dental care referendum to give part-time students an opportunity to receive equal benefits.
“Most [part-time] students don’t have a health and dental plan because of affordability, or because they don’t have employee insurance,” said Annie Hyder, a part-time student and the director of membership and communications at CESAR.
Last month, the board of governors of Ryerson University approved CESAR’s referendum request for Nov. 5-12.
The plan will cost students $155.95 and cover 90 per cent of prescription drugs, and 95 per cent of dental services.
“People think that part-time students have full time jobs, and are just pursuing their studies on the side,” said Hyder. “But I don’t think that’s really the case.
A lot of times these students are juggling two jobs and they don’t have any benefits at all.
There has been an extremely positive response regarding CESAR’s plans to develop a health and dental plan. A recent survey completed by students currently enrolled in a part-time degree program at Ryerson showed that 84 per cent were in favour of the plans.
“You get your health care in Canada through the collective paying for it,” said Matthew Cwihun, part-time student and CESAR director of campaigns and equity/public administration and governance.
“The same social structure needs to be present in the university community environment.”
There has always been a demand for health and dental coverage among part-time students, but CESAR has failed to make these implementations until now due to the lack of support part-time student unions receive in comparison to fulltime student unions, Cwihun said.
The focus of the newly elected group is largely on campgains and services, according to Hyder.
“We are definitely focused on the present,” she said. “Our present is what’s going to shape our future.”
If the plan goes through, “it means that finally a student can be enrolled in a part time degree program and not feel like they’re a second-class student,” said Cwihun.