North Island College students vote overwhelmingly for health and dental benefits

Student health and dental benefit plans have become commonplace at universities and colleges across Canada

Starting this September, students at North Island College will join the tens of thousands of BC’s post-secondary students enjoying the benefits of full health and dental coverage.

With the help of their North Island Students’ Union (NISU), students voted 97% in favour of providing themselves comprehensive health and dental benefits in a vote held in March. The plan is the first time NIC students will have access to a benefits plan in the college’s 40-year history.

“Students kept asking us why our Students’ Union was only one of a handful in the province that wasn’t providing these benefits to students,” said Jamie Lund, North Island Students’ Union board member. “Once we surveyed over 500 students, we were blown away by how many needed health and dental benefits, and how important the service was to our members.”

Student health and dental benefit plans have become commonplace at universities and colleges across Canada. Virtually all public institutions in BC feature the service and costs range from just under $200 per year to upwards of $500 for twelve months of coverage.

The benefits plan at NIC will be provided through the Canadian Federation of Students’ National Student Health Network, a national consortium of more than 35 students’ unions collectively purchasing health and dental benefits from Green Shield Canada, a national not-for-profit benefits provider.

“These plans are great value for money and ours will be totally not-for-profit. By working with our national and provincial students’ union, we were able to get an excellent set of benefits for less than $23 per month,” said Lund.

All NIC students registering next week in full-time classes, or in a program six months or longer will be enrolled in the plan. As is common with student health and dental plans, those who are already covered through a parent or spouse can opt out of the plan provided by the Students’ Union.

“We could not be more thankful to the staff and administration at North Island College for their work and support. The ability for students to vote in March and have the plan implemented two months later is a testament to the level of support we have received from North Island College,” said Lund.

“We’re proud to work with NISU to facilitate such vital benefits for students,” said Kathleen Kuhnert, NIC’s registrar and director of student services. “In July, the college signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NISU to better serve and support students. This initiative is one of the ways we work together to ensure NIC students receive quality education, services, and support while they study.”

Questions about the plan and what it covers should be directed to the Students’ Union via email at healthanddental@nisu.ca. The North Island Students’ Union is Local 72 of Canadian Federation of Students-BC, and represents over 4,000 students at all North Island College campuses and centres.