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SLC speaks about upcoming referendum on health and dental plan in SU general election

By Enobong Ukpong, February 14 2022—

This week’s SLC meeting took place on Feb. 8. The main topic of discussion was the upcoming Health and Dental Plan referendum.

In the last Students’ Union (SU) by-election, students had the opportunity to vote on the fate of the Health and Dental Plan, an insurance plan that allows the students who have paid the appropriate fees to have free or reimbursed health and dental services at the University of Calgary.

Citing the increasing costs of insurance premiums, the SU has determined that it can no longer financially support the health and dental plan in its current state. For the first time since 1993, the SU is considering changing the price of the health and dental fees. 

At $193 a year, the University of Calgary’s health and dental student fees are one of the lowest in the country. For comparison, the University of Alberta and Queens University both have student fees around $300 a year for about the same coverage. In a Student Legislative Council (SLC) meeting, Mickail Hendi, vice president operations and finance, said that the SU loses about $12.95 per student. 

The plebiscite revealed that the largest pluralities of students were willing to pay more in order to receive improved coverage.

A new set of referendum questions are set to appear on the ballot on the SU’s general election taking place in March. A referendum, unlike a plebiscite, is binding, meaning that the SU is required to act on the results received.

According to the notice of referendum, students will be asked three questions — if they support allowing annual fee increases based on inflation, if they support a $10 increase to the annual Dental Plan fee and if they support a $20 increase to the annual Health Plan fee.

The SU announced that it will launch an information campaign educating students about the upcoming referendum, although it will mostly be online and social media-based since returning to in-person seems to be up in the air.

Agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings for SLC can be found online.

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