Current COVID-19 advocacy priorities

  • Support to international students through COVID-19 by:
    • Providing income support through the CESB and access to work opportunities,
    • Ensuring international students with a valid study permit can travel to Canada for enrolment in Fall 2020.
  • The inclusion of T4A as acceptable proof of income for the CERB application (this will ensure Graduate students income received as scholarship counts as income to meet the CERB income threshold)
  • The smooth implementation of announced student supports to ensure monies and opportunities go directly in students’ hands.
  • Increase the age limit for the Canada Summer Job Program to ensure graduate students are eligible.
For detailed updates on our advocacy efforts, please read our monthly advocacy updates (links provided in the Learn More section or access them in the News and Blogs tab).
October 2020 Advocacy Updates

The month of October was a busy one for the GSA. At the institutional level, the GSA advocacy team met with the University administration to discuss tuition and fees going forward. The GSA continues to strive to maintain affordable and high-quality programs for graduate students. With provincial funding cuts, a massive provincial deficit, and the end of the tuition freeze students are facing quickly increasing costs. Beyond the ever increasing costs for students, employment opportunities are also suffering due to low energy prices initially, and the global pandemic more recently.

The University of Calgary and GSA will host a town hall meeting for graduate students on tuition for next year. This town hall will be on November 17 from 6 – 7 pm. Stay tuned for more details.

Our Advocacy Priority Areas

Each year, the GSA determines its priority areas based on the issues that affect students. This is informed by the GSA Strategic Plan, and the priority areas highlighted at the provincial and federal advocacy levels. These advocacy priorities reflect areas where we intend to show leadership in advocating for the best outcomes for graduate students, sharing our insights and knowledge, and providing analysis on relevant policy issues.

Provincial advocacy priority areas:

  • Stable and sustainable funding for graduate scholarships, bursaries and other non-repayable financial aid
  • Increased professional development and work-integrated learning opportunities
  • Streamline permanent residency for graduate students by improving the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program
  • Renew funding for campus mental health

 Federal advocacy priority areas:

  • Protect fair dealing in copyright
  • Improve access to work-integrated learning experiences for domestic and international students
  • Mitigate barriers for indigenous peoples to access post-secondary education
  • Support international students
  • Improve student employment
  • Support research funding for graduate students

Government Relations

The GSA’s advocacy efforts touch all three levels of government in varying degrees and plays an important role in representing your changing needs as graduate students. Our advocacy work is informed by research and policy development. We move our policy priorities forward and advocate on your behalf by:

  • Engaging the government – through Budget submissions and analysis, get-out the vote campaigns and regularly meeting with elected government officials including various provincial government ministries, and members of parliament.
  • Participating in consultations – through online and in-person consultations to inform government policies and initiatives.
  • Informing – through regular updates and analysis on how government decisions affect graduate students’ education

We adopt a soft advocacy approach towards municipal matters to lend our voice to issues affecting students on an as-needed basis. The GSA conducts its provincial and federal advocacy through its membership in larger advocacy bodies. We are an active member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Association (CASA) – to amplify our federal advocacy efforts, and of the Alberta Graduate Provincial Advocacy Council (ab-GPAC) – to amplify our provincial advocacy efforts.

University Relations

University relations is another key component of the GSA advocacy strategy. The GSA engages in meaningful consultation and collaboration with the University administration, the Faculty of Graduate studies, and various campus stakeholders to ensure the changing needs of UCalgary graduate students are prioritized in decision-making impacting any aspect of student experience. Your GSA elected officials hold seats on numerous university committees, sub-committees and groups including the University Board of Governors (BoG), the General Faculties Council (GFC), the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council, as well as committees from the Office of the Provost. Additionally, the GSA President and VP External regularly meet and maintain relations with all key senior University administrators’ basis to convey graduate students’ concerns and priorities.