August 2020 Advocacy Updates

As your graduate student representatives, the GSA Board of Directors and the Research and Advocacy Analyst work on many advocacy priorities to the best interest of UCalgary graduate students. If you have any questions or concerns, please email askgsa@ucalgary.ca.

September 8, 2020

The GSA’s August advocacy efforts were focused primarily on pushing on provincial and institutional (UCalgary) priorities. Provincially, through ab-GPAC, we secured one-on-one consultation interviews and were invited to participate in 2 roundtables with McKinsey as it relates to Alberta 2030. Institutionally, our advocacy efforts through UCalgary’s Academic Crisis Management Team (ACMT), a sub-committee of ACMT and private meetings focused on ensuring a safe and student-centric Fall 2020 re-entry plans. Read more about our advocacy efforts below. Read more about our advocacy efforts below:

At the Federal Level

  • Continuing to call on the Government to re-invest the failed Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) and reallocate the $912 million into stronger supports for post secondary students. See these Tweets on CASA’s Twitter page about its 7 asks on student investments.
  • Submitted the GSA’s selection of 2020-2021 Federal Advocacy Priorities for consideration by CASA’s Board, after consultation with the External Advocacy Ad-Hoc Working Group. 

At the Provincial Level

  • Secured invitations to a number of 1:1 sessions and 2 roundtables with McKinsey through ab-GPAC as part of the consultation process for the Alberta 2030 (a review of Alberta’s post-secondary sector). Our GSA is proactively involved in abGPAC’s work of voicing graduate students’ priorities and concerns, and to ensure our voice is heard at the consultation table.
  • Met with Minister of Labour and Immigration, Jason Copping on August 28 to get an update on the launch of the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur stream as part of the new Alberta Advantage Immigration Strategy. The Minister committed to inviting the GSA to the strategy’s launch and continuing conversations on potential improvements to the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP)Alberta Express Entry Stream improvements

At the Municipal Level

  • Offering the adult monthly pass at a reduced rate for students during the Fall semester
  • Continued advocacy to City Councillors to advocate for alternatives to the UPASS either through flexibility to the low-income transit pass for students through The City of Calgary’s Fair Entry Program or other alternatives to ensure students who will have to commute to campus in Fall 2020 can do so at a reasonable cost. Read the letter that has been sent to all City Councillors outlining concerns and proposed solutions. 

NOTE: The Fair Entry Program eligibility is based on income. The portion of your graduate income that is reflected in a T4 or Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency will help determine your income eligibility. If you live with a partner or within a household, the household income will help determine your income eligibility. Find out if you qualify here.  

How you can help

You can contribute to our advocacy efforts by contacting your respective City Councillors. Find your City Councillor here. Let your City Councillor know:

  • How the UPass cancellation is negatively impacting you as a student and a resident of Calgary;
  • Ask your City Councillor to work with City Transit to offer a subsidized transit for Fall 2020 either by:
    • Relaxing the income eligibility definition/threshold for the Fair Entry program by looking at individual income instead of family income (this will allow more students to quality for the low-income pass); or by
    • Offering the adult monthly pass at a reduced rate for students during the Fall semester

At the University Level

  • Continued advocacy for adequate students’ supports and clearer communication to students on Fall 2020 plans. Examples of small wins resulting from our advocacy:
    • Classroom cleaning protocols
    • Guidelines for Opening Student Lounges and Study Spaces
    • Classroom technology
    • UCalgary Re-entry protocols
    • Academically Employed Graduate Student COVID 19 protocols
    • Graduate Student-supervisor support and quality of supervision during remote learning
    • Initial Growth through Focus Consultation between GSA Board of Directors and UCalgary President

Comments

  1. Hi,
    Since we are eligible for the ‘fair entry program’, is it possible for grad students, who do not want to purchase the UPass to not do so? I see that for Winter 2021, UPass fee of $155 is charged. What if I want to continue with fair entry and not purchase UPass?

    1. Author

      Thank you Mandeep for your question. I will pass this onto the Board of Directors for answer.

      Regards,

      Thao N.

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