Advocacy Week

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) organizes one of the largest advocacy efforts in Ottawa every year, Advocacy Week. Student leaders from across the country gather together to meet with Members of Parliaments (MPs), Ministers, Senators, public servants and stakeholders to press for improvements to Canada's post-secondary education system. Because CASA is a student-led organization, our members develop the policies and set the advocacy priorities that are presented during this week.

 

Before you go out to your first meeting, CASA's staff will provide you with lobby training sessions, as well as pre-prepared talking points backed up with background information and research. Over the course of the week, staff will be available to provide you with feedback and assistance, as needed. Attendees will have a guaranteed four meeting minimum, though we aim to get each participant into 5-7 meetings with federal decision-makers. Observer (non-member) student associations are also welcome to attend, as this is an excellent opportunity for a student association to become familiar with CASA, but also to develop their understanding of federal politics.

 

This conference takes place in the month of October or November, depending on the parliamentary schedule. All Advocacy Week participants are required to abide by CASA's Code of Conduct

Advocacy Week 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 03:00 PM through December 01, 2017
Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa, ON, Canada

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Hey student leaders! We know that you work tirelessly to improve life for your students on campus. This year, why not also take that energy and dedication to represent your students’ interests to the Government of Canada? Whether the biggest issues for students on your campus are related to tight finances, lack of health and wellness, or other, the best way to make a change is to tell government directly.

 

That’s where Advocacy Week comes in. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and the Quebec Student Union (QSU) are pooling their experience and resources to create an event where YOU can meet directly with Members of Parliament, Senators, and other influential decision-makers to talk about student issues.

 

How does it work exactly? We handle the logistics of setting up meetings and we prepare supporting materials for you in advance. Once you arrive in Ottawa, we’ll also spend time explaining the research behind our “asks” and training you to be effective advocates. We’ve been advocating on Parliament Hill for 22 years now, so rest assured that we’re pretty good at it.

 

Quick links:

 

If you’re interested in attending, here are some key things you’ll need to know:

 

Who can attend?

Students representing a student union or association at a Canadian university, college, or polytechnic school are invited to attend.

 

When is it?

November 26 at 3:00 pm ET to December 1, 2017

 

Where is it?

Ottawa, Canada

 

I don’t live in Ottawa, where can I stay?

CASA has arranged for a room block at a discounted rate for our participants. However, this year it’s a little complicated due to the Grey Cup being hosted in Ottawa that weekend, so please read carefully.

 

The first night of the conference, the night of November 26, we have a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport. Conference check-in and activities will be taking place here that afternoon/evening, so we strongly encourage you to book a room at this hotel. The following day, we will be shuttling everyone to the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa’s downtown core, where the remainder of the conference will take place.

 

To book a room at the Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport for November 26-27, please call 613-288-9001 and remember to mention that you are with “CASA” to be placed in our room block and to receive our discounted rate. To book a room at the Lord Elgin Hotel from November 27-December 1, click here or call them at (613) 235-3333 and mention that you are with the CASA conference.

 

*Important* Please note that the deadline to book at CASA’s discounted rate for both of these hotels has been extended to Thursday, November 2, 2017. 

 

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If these accommodation options do not suit you, you may arrange your own accommodation in Ottawa. However, be aware that in doing so you will be required to find transportation to and from the conference space each morning.

 

How do I get there?

Depending on where you live, you may want to drive, fly, or take the train to Ottawa. Regardless of transportation method, please aim to arrive on November 26. Check-in for the conference will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 pm ET, so it is preferable if you can arrive by then. You are responsible for arranging and covering the cost of travel.

 

What does it cost?

CASA members are each permitted to send two delegates completely free of charge. QSU members should contact a representative of the QSU for information on the spaces available. Non-members of CASA and QSU (also called observers) are required to pay a fee of $300 CAD per person to help cover the cost of the conference space, materials, and staff support. Everyone must budget appropriately to cover the cost of travel, as well as food and accommodation throughout the duration of the event.

 

Will food be provided?

Unfortunately, we will not be providing food at the event. That being said, there are many affordable food options in proximity to the Lord Elgin Hotel, including a Starbucks and small convenience store inside the hotel itself.

 

How many meetings will I get?

We guarantee that each participant will have a minimum of 4 lobby meetings, though we aim to provide between 5-7 meetings each.

 

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Do I get a say in who I meet with?

Due to the complicated process of scheduling meetings, you will not have a direct say in which parliamentarians you meet with. We consider many factors, including language abilities, home and school riding, advocacy experience level, and more, to ensure the best experience for everyone. You will have a chance to disclose this information when you register.

 

Upon arrival in Ottawa, we will provide you with your personal meeting schedule. Please note that you are not permitted to switch meetings with other delegates, as each person has been placed in specific meetings for the above-mentioned reasons.

 

What subjects are we going to advocate on?

Though the exact policy asks are yet to be determined, the subjects covered will reflect the following theme areas: financial barriers to post-secondary education, health and wellness, educational materials, Indigenous students, and international students.

 

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Is there a schedule I can look at?

A tentative schedule is available.

 

Is there an official hashtag for the event?

Yes! Please tag all your snaps, instas, tweets and whatever else with #AdvoWeek17. If you’re posting in French, we also have the hashtag #SemAction17. We will also have a Snapchat filter at the event, so you can let your friends know about the great work you’re doing!

 

Any special rules for observers (non-members)?

We've gathered together some important guidelines for observers.

 

Ok I want to attend! How do I register?

Please fill out the registration form here by November 2nd at 11:59 pm ET. For observers, we will send you an invoice for the $300 fee after you complete the online registration.