Classes start Tuesday at George Brown College

New schedule for academic year extends the fall semester to Jan. 19, restores winter intersession week and lengthens the winter semester

Updated Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

George Brown College has told students classes will start on Tuesday after back-to-work legislation by the Ontario government passed today.

The college says with the passing of the back-to-work legislation today that the two-business days notice that they had previously said would be given to students was not possible as the new law requires colleges to start classes immediately.


The college announced a new academic schedule on its website. The key dates are:

  • The earliest that assignments are due and exams can be scheduled are Friday, Nov. 24.
  • The fall semester will be extended until Jan. 19 with classes running until Dec. 22 and then starting again on Jan. 8.
  • There will be no classes during the week of Jan. 22 to 26 to allow for time for faculty to mark and input grades for the start of the winter semester.
  • The winter semester will start on Jan. 29 and run until April 27.
  • The winter intersession break has been restored to its original dates of Feb. 26 to March 2 after an outcry by students and a scathing open-letter by the Student Association (SA) condemning the cancelation.

Tiffany White, the SA’s director of education, called the winter intersession week being reinstated “a huge win.”

“We worked very hard to advocate for the students to make sure that those mental health breaks were taken into consideration and were reinstated.” said White. “We worked very hard to make sure that we could find a way to save the semester.”

Some students are not happy with the proposed changes and say that a better option would be to cancel the semester and issue refunds for it.

“It would be easier and a lot less stressful to just be able to get a refund and to retake the entire semester as how it was planned at the start than to finish it how it is now.” said Taylor West, a student in the ASL deaf studies program.

“I’d rather see the semester canceled and we get a refund since it’s still going back into the school,” said business accounting student Steven Nguyen. “Most people probably no longer have the motivation to finish this semester because of this strike.”

Another issue that students are facing, especially international students, is flights that had already been booked during the winter break.

Ahmed Alsaleh, a construction management student from Saudi Arabia said he has spent $6,000 on airline tickets for himself, his wife, and their eight-month old daughter for the winter break.

“Many international students who are waiting for the New Years vacation to return to their homelands are now tied up with this sterile schedule,” said Alsaleh.

The college has said that students who are facing increased costs from flights can claim a partial refund through the college if they paid for a flight scheduled between Dec. 15 and 22 before Nov. 6.

Domestic students can claim up to $150 of change fees each way and up to 75 per cent of increased flight or cancelation costs to a maximum of $250 each way.

International students can claim up to $250 of change fees each way and up to 75 per cent of increased flight or cancelation costs to a maximum of $750 each way.

Students wishing to make a claim must have documented proof of the original booking, payment receipts and fees.

For Alsaleh, the compensation isn’t what he’s looking for.

“This is not enough because the issue is not about money but the time I will spend with my family,” said Alsaleh. “I don’t know what I should do because I don’t want to go for a few days and then come back.”

On Monday the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development said that they were directing the colleges to establish hardship funds for students.


With files from Steve Cornwell


Classes start Tuesday at George Brown College