OTTAWA, March 19, 2019 - The federal government released its 2019 budget today, where they announced exciting investments that the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and the Quebec Student Union (QSU) believe will improve the lives of post-secondary students across the country. Such investments include renewed funding to support Indigenous students, work-integrated learning opportunities for students, improved repayment terms for student loans, new student research scholarships, and financial support for students with disabilities.
Student researchers in Canada are celebrating announcements made in Budget 2019, as they will benefit from new master’s and doctoral level scholarship awards as well as extended parental leave.
“Students are an incredibly valuable part of Canada’s research ecosystem. We’re pleased to finally see students getting their fair share of research dollars, and to see government taking measures to improve equity and diversity among student researchers,” says QSU President, Guillaume Lecorps.
As a strong advocate for work-integrated learning (such as co-ops, internships, and apprenticeships) as a means to improve students’ transition to the workforce, CASA is pleased to see the federal government invest $630 million over 5 years in this realm. This investment is estimated to create 84,000 new work opportunities for students, where they can apply the knowledge learned throughout their education.
“CASA has also consistently advocated for reduced interest rates on student loans, as well as a 6-month interest-free period after studies to allow recent graduates adequate time to find employment,” says CASA’s Board Chair, Adam Brown. “Students are ecstatic to see that both these measures have been adopted by government, since they will serve to ease the debt burden on graduates across Canada.”
Students with disabilities often require specialized equipment to access and complete their studies. The federal grant provided to help cover the cost of this equipment is being more than doubled, from up to $8,000 a year to a maximum of $20,000 a year.
The Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), which provides financial aid to First Nations students, will receive $327 million over 5 years to ensure eligible students can access post-secondary education. This is an important first step, however it does not adequately address the backlog of First Nations students seeking post-secondary studies, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action. In addition to this step, the government has committed to developing Métis and Inuit-specific education strategies.
Brown continues: “Marginalized groups, including both students with disabilities and Indigenous students, face additional barriers when it comes to accessing and completing post-secondary. CASA has long advocated for supports to mitigate these challenges, and is pleased to see that Budget 2019 does not fall short in this respect.”
Students are extremely pleased at the investments made in Budget 2019 that will help to make Canadian post-secondary education more accessible, affordable, innovative, and high quality. CASA will continue to monitor the government’s progress as we prepare to mobilize students in our non-partisan Get Out the Vote Campaign.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 23 student associations representing 280,000 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
The Quebec Student Union’s mission is to defend the rights and interests of the student community, of its member associations, and of their members, by promoting, protecting, and ameliorating the conditions of students and those of local and international communities.
Alexandre Ducharme, Political Advisor