By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
The Student Association (SA), board of directors met on Sept. 17 at the Casa Loma campus of George Brown College (GBC). The meeting covered some key issues including childcare, Student Life committee membership, a potential speaking event, and the board mediation committee review.
The board has been working on making their meetings more accessible to its members, by proposing and implementing some policies, which involves reduction of systemic barriers. Introduction of sign language interpretation in meetings and events is one such policy.
Along the same lines, the childcare motion was proposed with the intent of bringing down one of the barriers faced by parents who are also board members. The high cost of childcare in Ontario makes it difficult for a parent as they have to choose between attending an official meeting and attending their children.
As explained by the director of Education and Equity, Mohammad Ali Aumeer, the motion was divided in two parts.
The first half focused on providing a subsidy to parents for childcare, which will make it easier for them to fully participate in meetings. This part of the motion was approved.
The second half was on how that childcare subsidy would be implemented. The original proposal was to allow the students enrolled in GBC’s early childhood education (ECE) program who were interested in child minding, to provide childcare to the children of board members. The ECE students would then invoice the SA for the services provided. It was proposed that the compensation for ECE students would be similar to the average hourly wage an early childhood educator working in Toronto would receive. This part of the motion was not carried out.
Mary Joseph, the community services representative who is also a parent said, “I do not have a problem with the ECE students providing childcare but it’s not convenient for me. If my daughter is away from school or away from where we would be having the meetings, I would have to leave the school, go home and get her back to school. This will mean extra cost and hassle in terms of transportation and time.”
The board decided that it was best to leave the decision to the parents on how they want to make the best use of the childcare subsidy, and that ECE students will not provide childcare.
Other important discussions at the board meeting included a proposal by Natasha Mehan, Waterfront campus director, to host a special meditation event on Nov. 21 or 23 at the Waterfront campus. Devamitra Swami is the proposed speaker and the topic covered will be on stress relief. The motion was recommended to committee for further discussion. Talks have also been happening to bring him to St. James on Nov. 26 to speak on the topic “fire of desire – are you lonely for me?”
Community services representative, Mary Joseph was added to the Student Life committee as a voting member to replace Aman Arora who resigned earlier this year. The motion was moved by the director of Student Life, Suzan Osman and was carried unanimously.
The board meeting also included an in-camera session, which covered a board mediation committee review.