Students at a majority of Ontario high schools are required to pay “course fees” that are suppose to be illegal, according to a recent report by People for Education. Nearly 70 per cent of schools generate income from everything ranging from activity fees, to athletic fees, to fees for french textbooks, and even fees for mandatory English courses. Schools generate between $1,000 and $90,000 from these fees, suggesting, the report states, that schools in wealthier neighborhoods are capable of charging their students for more services. “There appears to be some evidence that schools with a higher proportion of low-income students have lower average course fees, leading to a possible conclusion that fees are charged on a ‘what the market will bear’ basis,” the study reads. Course fees are prohibited by the Education Act and the province, which has recently completed consultations on the issue, is expected to issue guidelines.
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