March 2021 Advocacy Updates

The month of March was a busy one for GSA and its advocacy team! 

At the Federal Level 

The GSA President and GSA VP External met with student leaders across Canada for the three-day CASA AGM. We reviewed the current federal political climate, internal CASA proceedings, discussed the outcomes of the #CloseTheGaps campaign, and more. This wraps up our work with CASA for the year. 

The GSA also met with Senator Doug Black and discussed topics such as students with dependent children, student mental health and online learning. In addition, we raised concerns around keeping young talent in Alberta and the need to diversify the Albertan Economy. 

The GSA supported the U15 in writing a letter asking for quarantine exemption for graduate students who have access to extant university isolation programs or in-house quarantine plan as an alternative to mandatory hotel stays. The letter highlights concerns around affordability of hotels for international graduate students. 

At the Provincial Level 

The GSA team raised concerns for healthcare students working in foothills who are in close proximity to Covid-19 patients. The GSA asked for more clarity on this issue, specifically for students who are not healthcare students but still work in hospitals. We are pleased to get an official statement stating “students undertaking placement practicums in clinical areas (patient care facilities, or providing services directly to clients in the community for Alberta Health Services) will be eligible to book a vaccine in Step 2C”.

The Mental Health Grant has been renewed for a 3-year period by the 2021 Budget at the same level of financial commitment as previous years, but with an expanded fiscal term from 12 months per annum to 13 months per annum. 

One of the advocacy priorities that the GSA advocated for was improving broadband service in rural areas. The GSA was pleased to see that 2021 budget addressed the commitment to providing rural broadband service in rural areas. 

At the Municipal Level 

Through Calgary student alliance, we are involved in conversations around Guidebook for greater communities. We’ll be engaged throughout this conversation to bring the vision and expectation of students for Calgary. Read more about guidebook here – https://www.calgary.ca/pda/pd/current-studies-and-ongoing-activities/guidebook-for-great-communities.html

At the Institutional level 

The GSA has partnered up with the President, Ed McCauley’s team with regards to hosting a graduate student consultation for Growth Through Focus in order to better capture graduate students perspective. The consultation session is taking place on April 7th from 5 to 7:30 pm. Details can be found here.

The GSA continued to work closely with Ancillary Services to launch a pilot program for University of Calgary students in the summer term. This pilot program aims to integrate My Fare app, which will make transit much easier for students. The Pilot is an OPT in program. Ancillary Services will announce further details shortly. 

The GSA has been attending the information sessions hosted by Residence Services with regards to decommissioning of Varsity Courts. 

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