Thank you for sharing your story and helping us #CloseTheGaps! But we need more than just your story -- we need your help to spread the word, so policy-makers understand the full spectrum of challenges facing Canadian students and recent graduates! It’s time to take action! Share these posts below and help the #CloseTheGaps campaign grow!

Access to Technology Email

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 Access to Technology. In addition to my personal technology problems, access to reliable and affordable technology and broadband Internet has become integral to the post-secondary student experience in Canada. Not only is the Internet a hub for social communication and financial management, it is also a necessity for students who use it to register for courses, check syllabi, submit assignments, and access library resources. It has undoubtedly improved the accessibility of the student experience by making online courses and resources more accessible, but it’s a necessity has also imposed additional costs, and created new gaps, for students already facing systemic barriers. Along with that, the COVID-19 pandemic has enlarged these gaps by forcing hundreds of thousands of post-secondary students to study from their bedrooms, no matter where they live and with no regard to their level of access to at-home technological resources.

Because of that, I recommend that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps in technological and broadband access for post-secondary students:

  • Accelerate investment, with immediate steps, into improving rural high-speed Internet access across Canada.
  • Commit additional funding to provide appropriate digital technology to any low-income post-secondary student who needs it.

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Childcare for Students Email

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 Childcare for Students. In addition to my personal challenges, the need for proper child care has always been profound for students with dependent children, as they are often required to attend school and find care outside of the typical nine-to-five work schedule. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this need, as many students with dependents have been interrupted by their children during their online classes or exams, or have missed out on in-person experiential workshops because of additional child care commitments brought on by pandemic-related school lockdowns. What is more, students from underrepresented demographics are often more likely to have dependent children, therefore making their entry into post-secondary all the more challenging.

Because of this, I recommend that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps to child care for students with dependent children:

  • Include the needs and concerns of post-secondary students in the development of a Canada-wide early learning and child care program.
  • Investigate the needs for child care amongst students with dependent children through the biennial Longitudinal and International Study of Adults (LISA).

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Discrimination in the Post-Secondary Environment Email

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Jobs for Students Email

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 Jobs for Students. In addition to my personal employment problems, post-secondary students across the country have been hit hard by the economic shutdown. Young people in Canada (aged 15-24) were unemployed at a massive rate of 27.2% in April 2020 versus the general rate of 13.0%. Jobs for young Canadians have also been slower to return, as the unemployment rate for those aged 15-24 persists at 17.7% when compared to the general rate of 8.6%. This is partly because many young Canadians, including students, tend to work in the retail and service sectors, both of which have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s also because young Canadians tend to have the least seniority at their place of work, and therefore are the first to be relieved during tough economic times or a recession. This unemployment gap between the student-aged and the general population requires sustained attention and investment from the federal government.

As such, I recommend that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps in the Canadian labour market:

  • Build on existing investments in the Canada Summer Jobs program, Student Work Placement Program, and the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, to create more opportunities for post-secondary students.
  • Create a program modelled off Canada Summer Jobs to provide students with part-time work opportunities during the school year that offer experiences relevant to areas of study.
  • Amend the eligibility criteria for Canada Summer Jobs to make the program available to international students studying in Canada and as well as mature students over the age of 30.

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Mental Health Funding Email

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 Mental Health Funding. In addition to the challenge I’m personally facing, a significant and growing number of post-secondary students are experiencing mental health problems and illnesses: 44.4% of surveyed students reported that at some point in the previous twelve months they felt “so depressed it was difficult to function”; 13% had seriously considered suicide; 2.1% had attempted suicide, and 18.4% reported being “diagnosed or treated by a professional” for anxiety. This troubling reality has only worsened since the beginning of COVID-19, with 7-in-10 students reporting they feel stressed, anxious, or isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recognizing these troubling figures, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I call on the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps in post-secondary mental health support:

  • Provide a new funding envelope to provinces for targeted on-campus mental health investments in an effort to deepen federal support for post-secondary student mental health.
  • Commit additional long-term funding to the Wellness Together portal in an effort to expand its reach and build-up its scope of services to make virtual mental health services more accessible across the country.

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Student Financial Aid Email

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 Student Financial Aid. In addition to my personal financial struggles, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many students financially strained and unsettled. At a time when they are accruing roughly $17,000 on average in student loan debt, many students have also been blindsided by sudden pandemic-induced unemployment and long-term uncertainty in the labour market. While immediate emergency relief in the Canada Emergency Student Benefit has been extraordinarily helpful, the pandemic, and its associated economic turmoil, persists. According to Statistics Canada, high youth unemployment may linger for years, and the Class of 2020 could lose between $23,000 to $44,000 in cumulative earnings over the next five years, making it more difficult for many to pay their student debts. In addition to that, pandemic or not, upfront, non-repayable aid in the form of grants is a proven way to make education more affordable for those who want to attend post-secondary but do not have the means to do so.

Therefore, I recommend that the Government of Canada do the following to #CloseTheGaps around educational affordability and accessibility:

  • Maintain the 2020-2021 funding levels to Canada Student Grants under the Canada Student Loans Program in response to COVID-19, thus doubling grant maximums for eligible students from $3,000 to $6,000 per academic year going forward.
  • Extend the Home Office Expense Deduction to Canadian post-secondary students forced to attend school from home due to COVID-19.
  • Increase funding for the SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR scholarship programs on a recurring basis so that they return to the proportion they represented in 2011.
  • Reduce financial barriers to apprenticeships by expanding the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant to provide upfront support covering the first year of apprenticeship training.

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

Sincerely,
[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.

Supports for International Students Email

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

Sincerely,
[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.