What’s happening at the advocacy table? (March 2020)

As your graduate student representatives, the GSA Board of Directors and the Research and Advocacy Analyst worked on many advocacy priorities to the best interest of UCalgary graduate students. Have a look below at the GSA’s advocacy work for March 2020. If you have any questions or concerns, please email askgsa@ucalgary.ca.

At the Federal level:
  • What we did: The GSA advocated directly to the Federal government, and indirectly through the Provincial government, CASA and UCalgary’s senior administration, for clarity on whether Canada’s travel restrictions impacted international students’ ability to come/return to Canada.
  • What we did: We sought clarifications on the eligibility of international students (non-Citizens and non-Permanent Residents) and domestic students for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • The response: The Government of Canada provided those clarifications via a recently released CERB FAQ document.
  • What are in the works:
    • The GSA will undertake some more advocacy work to ensure that CERB eligibility criteria are broadened to not disadvantage students and new grads.
    • Social Insurance Number renewal process update inquiry given longer processing timelines, as this might impact international students
    • We are advocating directly to the Tri-Council and indirectly through CASA for additional funding provisions such as extensions or funding top-up for students who will experience a delay in their research due to COVID-19
At the Provincial level:
  • What we are doing: We are sharing advocacy information with other student leaders across the province to understand what is happening at various institutions and achieve consensus on joint action
  • What we will do: The GSA will participate in joint advocacy actions through ab-GPAC or as a GSA for increased support for students
At the University level:
  • What we did: We advocated that UCalgary waive parking fees for students.
    • The response: The University has agreed to waive these fees.
  • What we did: We advocated for reduction of Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees (MNIF fees) for Spring and Summer as students wouldn’t be using University facilities.
    • The response: The University has agreed to that students enrolled in spring and summer classes will not be charged UPass and Campus Recreation fees, as these services will not be available.
  • What we did: We advocated that students living in residence have alternative support in case the University shuts down, and for transparent communication with students in residence.
    • The response: UCalgary Administration committed to providing alternative housing to students in this situation as needed.
  • What we did: We advocated that these students be appropriately compensated as some graduate students who have GAT appointments are required to work additional hours due to COVID-19 and online course delivery.
    • The response: Provost committed to providing up to $500,000 towards this.
  • What we are doing: We are advocating for a tuition reduction student who will have to stay longer (program/research delays) and won’t have funding from their department