Now that 12,000 faculty members are walking the picket lines at Ontario's 24 public colleges, students may be facing an uncertain academic future.
College Student Alliance President Joel Willett has no clear answers, and with no guideline to recoup the semester should the labour dispute drag on, he admits many students could be left in the lurch.
"If neither side budges, how long does this go on before they have to call it a semester?" says Willett. "Neither side can give an answer to that question, which becomes very frustrating from a student's perspective."
Willett says students also have financial concerns.
"It's not just tuition that you have to pay, but it's the rent you have to pay especially if you live away from home," he stresses. "It's the loss of income from a potential job. It's OSAP [Ontario Student Assistance Program] repayments that students have to worry about."
Talks between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents faculty, and the College Employer Council started in July. With both sides far apart on the critical issues, the union announced Sunday night it was going on strike as of 12:01am Monday.
The last faculty strike was in March 2008 and lasted 18 days. However, Ontario college students have never lost a semester because of a labour dispute.
In a release to the media Monday, the alliance urged both sides to return to the bargaining table saying "both OPSEU and CEC have claimed they are putting students first with their current proposals -- students don't want to be put in the middle of negotiations or to be used as pawns."