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 Supports for International Students. In addition to the restrictions and challenges I’m personally facing, it’s no secret that international students have been left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the much higher tuition fees, as well as a $21.6 billion contribution to the Canadian economy, international students have been excluded from various COVID-19 relief programs. This support was overlooked while students with study visas struggled with lost income, stringent travel restrictions, and confusing work permit regulation changes. Many international students have been obliged to continue attending online classes in the middle of the night on unstable Internet, while others have returned to Canada and have been forced into substandard housing while completing their legally-required 14-day quarantine. International students require support to cope with their current and unprecedented reality.
In addition to that, it’s also clear that international students are assets to Canada, bringing considerable cultural and economic value to the country while in school, as well as when many decide to stay permanently. Things like reducing permit barriers for international students looking to participate in work-integrated learning experiences, and allowing youth employment program access to international students looking for work, would go a long way to increasing the long-term attractiveness of Canada as a study destination.
Therefore, I recommend that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps for international students:
- Amend the eligibility criteria for Canada Summer Jobs and the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to make the program available to international students.
- Allow international students to participate in an internship or co-op under their existing study permit rather than requiring them to apply for and obtain a separate co-op or intern work permit.
- Introduce a series of federal grants, bursaries, and scholarships of merit and need for international students and refugees.
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.