The 10-Hour Rule Needs to be Abolished
In the 1990s the Ontario Government sought support from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies for something called the ’10-Hour Rule’, which states that graduate students are not allowed to work more than an average of 10 hours per week on-campus. The OCGS adopted the rule, binding all Ontario universities to comply.
However, in 2014 the Government realized their mistake and struck the rule from all their policies, while at the same time the OCGS reiterated their support for the rule.
The 10-Hour Rule is archaic and antiquated: tuition is significantly more expensive, rent is noticeably more expensive, food is more expensive, more ancillary fees are levied on students, and real wages have remained stagnant. This rule has placed a hard cap on the in-study earning potential of graduate students and needs to be abolished.
Students should have the right to try and earn as much as they need to pay for their education. The rule was created because of the concern that students who work too much will fall behind in their studies. While the principle of the policy is a fair one, the practice of the policy is categorically unfair. The rule attempts to target a very specific subset of students; those who work more than 10 hours a week, fall behind in their studies, and who fall behind specifically because of their work. Despite this, the rule applies to all students, even those willing and able to handle more work hours.
When a hard ceiling is built over a students’ earning potential they are forced to subvert the system by finding lower paying off-campus opportunities, by taking out more loans, or by forcing themselves into a lower standard of living, cutting corners on utilities and food.
This week the OCGS is meeting to debate the 10-Hour Rule and you have a chance to change their mind, if you believe this rule needs to be rescinded, contact Chander Shahi, your Dean, and let him know that universities should not restrict how much students should be able to earn and that you support having this rule rescinded.
Luke Dotto, Executive Director, Ontario Graduate Students’ Alliance.