OTTAWA, November 22, 2018 – Students from across the country will travel to Ottawa next week to bring important issues from their campuses to the attention of politicians on Parliament Hill. As participants of Advocacy Week, an event organized by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and the Quebec Student Union (QSU), they will be highlighting struggles that international students, graduate students, student researchers, and post-secondary students at large face in getting the most out of their education.
This year, students from across Canada have identified sexual violence prevention and support services on campus as a priority. No campus has been immune from the devastating impacts of sexual violence. In fact, nearly half of all reported sexual assaults in Canada are committed against young people, 41% of whom are also students. The facts are sobering and students are demanding action. They recommend that the $5.5 million invested in sexual violence prevention in last year’s budget be used to develop a concrete standard, outlining the minimum services needed on campus to prevent sexual violence and to support students who have been impacted.
“Sexual violence is a national issue that has been drastically impacting campus life, and we believe that post-secondary institutions require strong federal leadership to address it,” says Adam Brown, CASA’s Board Chair. “We also want to make sure that the money government has invested to address sexual violence on campus is used to its utmost potential, so that students are better protected.”
Students will also be underscoring the difficulties that international students face when they come to study here in Canada. Despite paying skyrocketing tuition fees, these students often miss out from participating in co-ops and internships due to unnecessary barriers in the immigration system. Furthermore, Article 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act prevents international students from getting immigration advice from their campus international office, unless the staff has obtained a costly and time-consuming certification. These factors have further exacerbated the challenges that international students face.
Other key issues to be discussed will include funding to support student researchers, the need for more work-integrated learning opportunities (i.e. co-ops and internships), and the lack of grants for graduate students with financial need.
For more information on the changes students are advocating for, read CASA’s document Students Bring Fresh Ideas to Improve Post-Secondary Education.
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 270,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. Through its partnership with the Quebec Student Union (QSU) and its 8 members representing 79,000 students, CASA presents a national student voice to the federal government. 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