The GSA’s response to the 2021 Federal Budget

The Government of Canada’s 2021 Federal Budget plans to invest over $5.7 billion in post-secondary students in Canada. Key investments are made in student financial aid, employment training, mental health services funding, and research funding.

The GSA is pleased to see the outcome of the 2021 Federal Budget. This budget delivered many of the GSA and CASA’s key federal asks, and we will continue to work together to understand the full nuance of what this budget means to graduate students. We strongly support the Canadian government’s investment to fund and support research, student financial aid, mental health, student employment, Indigenous student aid, and rural internet access. We will continue to advocate to the Canadian government for improvement in all of these key areas, especially for a comprehensive investment in Canada’s granting agencies for student-led research programs.

Key investment areas for graduate students:

  • Student Financial Aid:
    • Extension of the doubling of Canada Student Grants until the end of July 2023
    • Extension of the interest accrual waiver on Canada Student Loans until March 31, 2023
    • Extension of disability supports under the Canada Student Loans program to students who experience a persistent or prolonged disability, but not necessarily a permanent one.
  • Employment Training:
    • Investing $708 million over the next five years to create at least 85,000 work-integrated learning placements through Mitacs.
  • Indigenous Student Aid:
    • $150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies.
  • Research Funding:
    • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new agency biomedical research fund.
    • $250 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to increase clinical research capacity through a new Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinical Trials Fund.
    • $12 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to fund academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups. This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender, and other forms of diversity.
  • Mental Health Funding:
    • $62 million, in 2021-22, to Health Canada for the Wellness Together Canada portal so that it can continue to provide Canadians with tools and services to support mental health and well-being.
    • $45 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to help develop national mental health service standards, in collaboration with provinces and territories, health organizations, and key stakeholders.
    • $100 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including health care workers, front-line workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, and racialized and Black Canadians
    • $597.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation.
  • Rural Internet Access
    • Investing an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects in collaboration with provinces and territories and other partners.

View the full budget here:

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