Grad Minutes: September 8

A summary of the latest Graduate Student Council Meeting

Illustration by @Reslus

Editors note: This article initially stated that the GSS would be moving into the Student Union Building (SUB) on October 1. This was a error, and it is the SFSS who will be moving into the SUB on October 1. The article has been updated to reflect this.

Written by: Michelle Young, News Editor

Approval of merging the benefit plan and benefit contingency fund 

The benefit plan, valued at $257,344.14 and the benefit contingency fund, valued at $242,932.64 at the start of the 2019/20 financial year, have been approved for a merge. 

Director of Finance Farina Fassihi explained, “The benefit plan is used for providing bursaries [ . . . ] but with the benefit plan contingency fund we need to pay increased premiums [ . . . ] so the idea is to merge these two funds and create more interest, which would mean more burarises.” 

Advocate and Policy Advisor Harjap Grewal added, “One of the things that we’ve heard a lot from people is that our benefits plan is very good, but [ . . . ] for things like mental health, [ . . . ] [they] often run out of the allotment of what [they] have under the plan fairly quickly.” 

The merger would allow for more students to become eligible for new bursaries “particularly [with] mental health,” according to Fassihi. 

The motion passed with 20 in favour and four abstaining.


“International Students Full Immigration Status for All” endorsement

In response to COVID-19, the Migrant Rights Network requested for the “restructuring of Canada’s immigration system.” The campaign was launched in July and calls for “a single-tier immigration system, where everyone in the country has the same rights.” 

Director of Academic Relations Rahil Adeli elaborated, “International students comprise of [a] considerable portion of the Canadian migrants with temporary status and they face many restrictions and unfair conditions because of their status [ . . . ] including access to scholarships and government grants [ . . . ] They can face detention or deportation for simple reasons like working too many hours, changing schools, or even failing a course [ . . . ] [This system results] in 1/23 people — which includes 1.6 million people — [without] access to fully labourised healthcare or income support.” 

The letter demands that “all migrants, refugees and undocumented people in the country must be regularized and given full immigration status now without exception. All migrants arriving in the future must do so with full and permanent immigration status.” 

The GSS voted in favour of endorsing the initiative. The motion passed with 20 in favour and four abstaining.


Completion of the Student Union Building (SUB)

Director of External Relations Matthew McDonald stated that the Student Union Building has been completed and that the SFSS will be moving into it on October 1. 

The next Graduate Council Meeting is scheduled to take place on October 13