FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, December 12, 2016 – The Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) has released its 2017 Pre-Budget Report, which outlines their recommendations for the upcoming federal budget. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is proud that many of the recommendations brought forward by our student leaders during Advocacy Week and throughout the year are found within.
One of CASA’s primary advocacy priorities this year was to encourage government to establish a six-month, interest-free grace period on the federal portion of student loans. This would give students a more realistic amount of time to find a job before being obligated to pay back loans, seeing as the job search in Canada takes an average of five months. FINA recommends in its report that, “in relation to the federal portion of any loan, the Government of Canada establish a six-month, interest-free grace period for those accessing the Canada Student Loans Program.”
“Students experience an immense amount of pressure and uncertainty during the period following graduation,” says CASA’s Executive Director, Michael McDonald. “Eliminating the accrual of interest during the first six months post-graduation would help to ease this pressure so that graduates can focus on their transition to the workforce.”
CASA is also extremely pleased to see the committee call for increased funding for First Nations education through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP). FINA’s report includes the recommendation to remove the 2% funding cap on the PSSSP, which would help thousands more First Nations students attend post-secondary.
Other positive recommendations made by FINA include:
- Providing funds to support reconciliation education at post-secondary institutions;
- Expanding work-integrated learning opportunities, specifically pre-apprenticeship training programs;
- Improving service standards and application processing times for the Express Entry program (which affects international students, learn more);
- Developing a mental health strategy; and
- Directing Statistics Canada to produce enhanced labour market information as well as data on post-secondary enrolment, graduation, and tuition rates.
“CASA has been a strong proponent for a number of the recommendations cited in the report, having advocated on them during our annual Advocacy Week last month,” says McDonald. “CASA commends the work of the Chair, Wayne Easter, Vice-Chairs, Ron Liepert and Guy Caron, and all of the members of the committee for their commitment to bettering the lives of students.”
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Communications and Public Relations Officer
Phone: 613-236-3457 ext. 224