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SLC discuss health and dental plans for students

By Enobong Ukpong, August 30 2022

Last week’s Student Legislative Council (SLC) meeting took place on Aug. 23. This week all 15 members of the SLC voted to support the “yes” position of the upcoming referendum question to support the sustainability of the Health and Dental Plans.

Students may recall voting whether or not the SLC should raise the fees of the Students’ Union (SU) Health and Dental Plan. Citing the increasing costs of insurance premiums, the SU had determined that the health and dental plan could no longer be supported in its current state, with former VP OpFi Mickail Hendi stating that the SU lost about $12.95 per student. 

The University of Calgary has one of the lowest fees in the country at $193 per year since 1993. In comparison, the University of Alberta and Queens University have $300 per year for the same coverage.

In the Winter 2022 referendum, students had the choice of increasing fees to have the same coverage, increasing fees significantly to have more coverage, or keeping fees the same to have decreased coverage. The referendum also asked students if they approved of a constitutional amendment that allowed the cost of the health and dental plan to grow with inflation, with the highest increase being four percent per year. Fifty-six percent of students voted against this.

Despite this, the SU has deemed it necessary for the health and dental plan fees to keep up with inflation, but that it is impractical to keep making referendum questions each year asking if students would like their fees to be increased. As such, there will be a new referendum asking students if they would like to amend the SU constitution to allow for the fees to be tied to inflationary measures. The SLC has formally voted “yes” to  this referendum. 

SLC representatives are usually required to take a neutral position on referendums, but they are allowed to express an opinion because the referendum concerns fees related to the maintenance of the SU. According to Nicole Schmidt, the current SU president, neutrality made it difficult for SU representatives to articulate the importance of the previous year’s referendum.

“You’re representatives of the Student Union, you have to represent what is in the best interests of your constituents, in this case, the students from your respective faculties who you represent,” said Schmidt.

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

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