OTTAWA, December 11, 2017 – The government’s Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) released its annual report of recommendations for the upcoming federal budget, and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is pleased to see that these include measures to address important student issues. Notably, CASA is in support of the committee’s recommendations to address student mental health, textbook costs, and barriers to Indigenous education.
“It’s encouraging to see so many of the solutions that students have been advocating for this past year being echoed by the government’s Finance Committee,” said CASA’s Executive Director, Michael McDonald. “We eagerly await Budget 2018 to see if they will be adopted, as these measures would make a positive difference in many students’ lives.”
Mental illnesses and mental health issues are becoming more common on post-secondary campuses, and affected students often require academic accommodations to succeed in their studies. Unfortunately, the assessments required to obtain these accommodations can be very pricey, leaving many unable to access support. CASA is pleased to see the committee adopt its recommendation to have the Canada Student Loans program provide funding to cover the upfront cost of the assessments required to get these much-needed academic accommodations.
CASA has also been advocating for the widespread use of open educational resources (OERs), which would give students access to more information sources while helping to cut costs on textbooks. In their report, the Finance Committee recommends that government create a pilot grant through the research Tri-Agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) to provide students and faculty with an incentive to develop open educational resources.
Additionally, CASA has continued to actively advocate for increased support for Indigenous students, whose financial aid programs have long been left underfunded and whose post-secondary attainment levels are far below the rest of the population. As CASA brought this issue to Parliament Hill during their Advocacy Week, students are excited to see the committee’s report include a recommendation for increasing funding for Indigenous post-secondary students and increasing eligibility for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
Finally, the committee’s report suggests expanding youth employment programs to better support school-to-work transitions, as well as increasing support for student-led research by following the Fundamental Science Review, otherwise known as the Naylor Report. These are both strong recommendations that CASA hopes will be adopted in Budget 2018.
The federal government’s Budget 2018 is expected to be released in the first quarter of the new year.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 22 student associations representing 255,000 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