The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) had an incredible year fighting for the interests of post-secondary students across the country. Below we’ve counted down the top ten highlights of our work this year:
10. Stood Up for Student Mental Health
CASA released a mental health paper as well as participated in a consultation by the Mental Health Commission of Canada about their upcoming post-secondary standard. Later this month, CASA will be launching a student mental health campaign called #StudentsLetsAct.
9. Applauded Investments to Help Adults Return to School Later in Life
Early in 2018, the government announced a new $1,600-per-year student grant and new flexibilities to Employment Insurance that would make it easier for adults to return to school and upgrade their skills. Learn more.
8. Advocated for Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Services on Campus
CASA identified the severity of sexual violence on campus and the urgent need to better protect students through a sexual violence post-secondary standard. In 2018, CASA published a report, secured a seat on Minister Monsef’s Advisory Council on the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, and flooded Parliament Hill with its advocacy on this subject.
7. Defended Fair Dealing to Protect the Quality of Canada’s Post-Secondary Education
CASA presented to and submitted a report to the government committee responsible for the ongoing review of the Copyright Act, where fair dealing provisions are currently under threat.
6. Participated in the Federal Government’s Youth Policy Consultation
CASA’s delegation met with Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Peter Schiefke, to give feedback on the federal government’s new youth policy. Learn more.
5. Fought for Quality Education and Immigration Supports for International Students
CASA advocated for international students this year by asking for several work restrictions be removed, and by advocating for an exemption to Article 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would allow post-secondary staff to better support international students. CASA also presented to the government’s Citizenship and Immigration Committee and published a paper on international student experiences in 2018.
4. Presented to the Government Finance Committee
CASA was invited to present to the Finance Committee regarding the federal government's 2019 budget. Students recommended government take several actions in the upcoming budget, including giving students more time to repay their loans without accruing interest, making it easier for low-income families to obtain the education funding they’re entitled to, and providing grants to graduate students with financial need. Learn more.
3. Conducted 145 Advocacy Meetings on Parliament Hill
As part of CASA’s Advocacy Week in November, students met with 145 Members of Parliament, Ministers, Senators, and sector stakeholders to discuss students’ needs. Notably, students met with 13 current cabinet Ministers as well as party leaders Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, and the office of Andrew Scheer. Learn more.
2. Celebrated Investments Totalling $1.8 Billion to Help Students
In March 2018, the government announced that it would be investing in CASA advocacy areas including research, youth work programs, and efforts to address gender-based violence on campus. Learn more.
1. Communicated Students’ Needs to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
CASA spent the morning of December 10th on Parliament Hill meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Youth, Justin Trudeau. During this 40-minute meeting, CASA stressed the importance of addressing students challenges, including the high cost of education, the immigration challenges faced by international students, the difficulty students have gaining field-relevant work experience, the lack of research funding designated to students, and the prevalence of sexual violence on campus. CASA counts on the Prime Minister’s support to make change for post-secondary students in the near future.