Tomorrow Ontarians will be casting their ballots in the 42nd Ontario general election, however, the make-up of voters will be significantly different than in previous elections. On June 7th, millennial-aged voters will be the largest and most diverse block of eligible voters in Ontario, and eligible Gen Z voters will be casting their ballots for the first time.
As an undergraduate student that has spent the last month encouraging my friends and peers to vote in the Ontario Provincial Election on June 7, I’ve heard several excuses come up about not knowing where to vote, not voting in advance, or not voting at all come June 7th. At the time, I candidly expressed that they could navigate those doubts and have a real impact in the election-- and it was critical that they did.
Student life can be hard. With multiple priorities and deadlines, students tend to have hectic schedules which can lead to the development of unhealthy behaviours that are detrimental to their wellbeing. Our university education can put stress on both our bodies and our minds, adversely affecting student health. As a result, mental health policy has become a top area of policy interest for students as we continue to face such challenges. Over 36% of students have reported feeling levels of depression that make it difficult to function, and over 58% report having experiences with overwhelming anxiety. Many of our Ontario universities have seen the result of the high pressure put upon students, with students often feeling burn out, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Sadly, many student bodies have had to grieve as students have died by suicide or attempted suicide on campus.
With a provincial election around the corner in Ontario, students are starting to discuss the issues that they are passionate about. Students are concerned about issues revolving around the workforce, the economy, and experiential learning, and are looking for proposed improvements and solutions in these areas as they consider who to vote for.
While many student government elections have wrapped up across Ontario universities, the provincial election is steadily approaching, and students need to be prepared to cast their ballot come June 8th. Free and independent voting is an essential part of our democracy, and it is important that students know how vital their participation is in shaping the future of their province. Voting is not only your right as a citizen, but also one way for you to act as an agent of change. As a post-secondary student, although you might think that your vote is minuscule or feel that it doesn’t really matter, I’m here to tell you, and show you, that it really does matter!
Throughout my time as a health sciences student at McMaster, I have seen the cost of my education rise at unaffordable rates. Over the past 5 years my tuition has increased by nearly $1,000 due to annual 3% increases. Furthermore, ancillary fees have risen even more drastically, with new services being approved through referenda, and other ancillary costs of education, such as textbooks and course materials, increasing each year.Read more