Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


Toronto Adult Students Association founded, first independent organization in Canada representing adult learners 

This year, the Toronto Adult Students Association (TASA) was founded in response to the passing of Bill 160, a legislation passed by the Conservative-led government of Ontario that reduced funding to adult education by two-thirds province wide. Adult learners organized under the banner of ASAB 160 (Adult Students Against Bill 160). TASA was created to ensure that all adult learners have access to democratic representation and essential support services, and as such became the first independent organization representing adult learners in Canadian history.

Two years later, on June 14th, 1999, the Toronto Adult Student Association was incorporated as a non-profit association. Its main mission was "to provide adult learners with a strong unified voice and develop services that will offer direct support to the learner, thereby enhancing the opportunities to achieve their personal and academic goals".

From its inception, TASA committed to itself to:

TASA's membership includes thousands ofadult learners enrolled within the credit day school, non-credit, english as a second language (ESL), and literacy programs. Adult students represent approximately 10% of the total day school population within the Toronto area.

TASA is financially dependent upon fundraising events and programming revenues. As of the 21st. century, this has been complemented with direct fees from students. Indeed, on March 29th, 2000, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) granted TASA with the authority for the collection of a five-dollar registration fee from students enrolled in adult day school credit programs and non-credit ESL programs.

Among other services, TASA creates an annual Student Agenda, which outlines current issues affecting adult learners and proposes strategies of resolutions. TASA works in close partnership with the TDSB and other agencies involved in Literacy, ESL, Credit/Non-Credit, and Senior's programming.

TASA also plays a role in influencing adult education policy by bringing learners' concerns to the policy table. TASA constantly urges all levels of government and the private sector to work together to create a comprehensive provincial strategy to meet the growing needs of adult learners in Ontario. At the level of national policy, TASA works collaborately with CANDLE, the Canadian Network for Democratic Learning.


Toronto Adult Students Association Website 

Daniel Schugurensky (2002). Update on the Toronto Adult Student Association: Interview with Sue Nielson, Executive Director. Learning Curves 4 (6), 4-5.

Prepared by DS (2006)

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