December 2021 Advocacy Update

It is hard to believe that the end of 2021 has come and gone! While we all navigated another year in a global pandemic, the GSA pushed to finish the year strong with finalizing the tuition and fees consultation and getting some wins for students, starting our stakeholder engagement with members of Calgary City Council, and preparing to provide input for the 2022 provincial budget. The graduate students are resilient, and the GSA is hopeful for a positive and impactful 2022!

Read more about our advocacy efforts below.

Institutional (UCalgary)Tuition and Fees Increase Consultation: Proposals went to the Board of Governors on December 10th and all tuition and fees for 2022-23 were approved with no changes since FPC. Get the summarized details on the newly set tuition and fees here. The GSA got a number of wins for graduate students as a direct result of our advocacy. Read more about it here

Minimum Funding Increase Proposals: Major win for graduate students on the passing of the minimum funding increase proposals through the FGS Council! Kudos to our VP Academic and partners within FGS. These new minimum stipends will provide new graduate students with a just and equitable income to cover increases in tuition, rent and other living expenses.
– Minimum funding for incoming domestic and international PhD students will increase by $4,000 and $2,000, respectively.
– We also created the first university-wide minimum funding policy for thesis-based master’s students starting at $10,000.

COVID-19 Updates: Rising Covid-19 cases and concerns about the Omicron variant cause UCalgary among other Alberta post-secondary institutions to cancel in-person classes and exams. A notice was sent that all in-person events, meetings and gatherings must move online/virtual or pause until at least January 31, 2022
Federal Good news for post-secondary students – the federal government’s December 14th Economic and Fiscal Update provided:

– Debt relief for students who accidentally collected the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

– New $85 million investment to speed up immigration application processing times
ProvincialBudget 2022 consultation: The Government of Alberta launched Budget 2022 consultation in the form of written submissions, an online survey and telephone town halls. The GSA has been working through ab-GPAC on a joint budget submission to highlight graduate students’ priorities. ab-GPAC will send in the submission by January 14.

Budget 2022 Survey: Take the Budget 2022 survey and have your say! Fill out the short budget survey by January 15, and help the government understand your priorities as a graduate student. The GSA is encouraging all graduate students to take the time to fill out this survey, so we can make our voices count in influencing the direction of the next provincial budget. There is strength in numbers.
MunicipalLet’s Talk Advocacy with Jasmine Mian: Ward 3 Councillor Jasmine Mian joined our VP External for the December Instagram Live on Dec. 7 to discuss her reflections from the 2021 municipal campaign, her own journey from the Olympics, grad school to local politics, and her priorities for her Ward and the City. Re-watch it here.

City Councillors and mayoral outreach: We started meetings with City Councillors/team. Met with Ward 3 Councillor staff to discuss our municipal priorities; pulled from short survey sent GRC representatives and then all grad students. Top priorities are public transit, affordable housing, increased opportunity for graduate students/young people in Calgary)Participated in Calgary Student Alliance (CSA) public transit committee meeting with other Calgary post-secondary institutions to discuss the UPass.