Dear [recipient name will go here], [recipient position will go here];
I am a post-secondary student at [submission:values:school] living in [your jurisdiction will go here] and I need your help to #CloseTheGaps surrounding Canadian post-secondary education!
I’m personally facing a serious issue around Discrimination in the Post-Secondary Environment. In addition to my personal story, the prevalence of discrimination and gender-based violence on Canadian post-secondary campuses remains striking. While gender-based violence can impact anyone, young women and transgender peoples are particularly vulnerable, with 1-in-5 women experiencing a sexual assault during their studies, and nearly half of transgender individuals experiencing sexual assault over their lifetime. Further, young Indigenous women are disproportionately likely to experience gender-based violence, making post-secondary campuses particularly unsafe for a population already facing intergenerational trauma. It’s time for real action to end gender-based violence on Canadian post-secondary campuses. There is still more that the federal government can do to end discrimination, particularly for Indigenous students. According to the Assembly of First Nations, 7-in-10 First Nations youth want to participate in post-secondary education, but a survey conducted on the educational attainment of Indigenous Peoples in Canada indicated that only 48.4% of Indigenous peoples had a post-secondary credential, compared with 64.7% of non-Indigenous Peoples. With BIPOC and LGBTQ post-secondary students across the country standing up on their campuses to call out this systemic discrimination, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to make the post-secondary environment a safe and empowering place for all.
As such, CASA recommends that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps around post-secondary discrimination:
- Create a national standard to address gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions, outlining the minimum services needed on campus to prevent sexual violence and support those students who have been impacted by it.
- Ensure legislation currently before Parliament enshrining the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law is passed before the end of the current Parliamentary session.
2020 has been a challenging year for all Canadians, and post-secondary students across the country know it. We have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. We are all facing unprecedented levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and social isolation, as well as a bleak job market unlikely to improve in the short-term. In addition to that, many of us are also facing persistent discrimination, non-existent child care, insufficient broadband, or confusing restrictions as we attempt to re-enter and study in Canada. These gaps are not only due to COVID-19-related challenges; this past year has also seen persistent gaps that existed prior to the pandemic exacerbated, thereby compounding the hardship many students are facing. You can read about some of the gaps my peers and I are facing here: www.closethegaps.ca/showcase
I’d also encourage you to champion the full spectrum of solutions we are proposing to #CloseTheGaps! You can find them all here: www.closethegaps.ca/thefacts
[your name will go here]
[your location will go here]
#CloseTheGaps is a grassroots campaign seeking to highlight the many challenges faced by post-secondary students in Canada during this unprecedented year. It is powered by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), a non-partisan, not-for-profit, student organization composed of 23 student associations, representing 275,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast to coast.