The Graduate Orientation is a quick-stop for new and continuing graduate students at York University to know all about YUGSA – Your Student Union!
- Land Acknowledgement
- Message from Exec
- YUGSA: Who we are
- YUGSA Services
- Academic Services
- Health Plan
- Newsletter Subscription
- Funding and Bursaries
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Métis, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon: Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Ojibwe and allied nations to peacefully share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This territory is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
Today, the meeting place of Toronto (from the Haudenosaunee word Tkaronto) is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory.
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! Although this year is unlike any previous academic year, as York’s graduate students’ union, our commitment to representing the interests of our membership continues to be a top priority at the York University Graduate Student Association.
The 2019-2020 academic year was one filled with many historic moments. We began the academic year wrapping our heads around the Ontario Conservative Government’s Student Choice Initiative which would have given students the choice to opt-out from paying levies to their student unions. Premier Doug Ford’s government attempted to silence students through these cuts to student unions. The attacks on students and funding of post-secondary education led us, along with the undergraduate students’ union and CUPE 3903, to organize York’s first-ever one-day student strike on Nov 6, 2019. Shortly following the one-day student strike, a panel of judges of the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice Divisional Court ruled the Student Choice Initiative unlawful. As of our last update, received from the applicants (The Canadian Federation of Students), Doug Ford’s Conservative Government has appealed this decision and we are currently awaiting a decision.
During the month of March 2020, we closed our office due to the unprecedented and rapid spread of COVID-19. It is evident that this pandemic has caused numerous interruptions to graduate students’ mental health, academic progress, and research. With this unknown virus which is spreading like wildfire, York University’s senior administration has neglected our repeated requests to accommodate graduate students who are experiencing disruptions to their academic progress and research. York University has advised graduate students to apply for government funding or to take a leave of absence if they are unable to progress in their degree. York University’s response to its graduate community is deeply concerning to us, and as the representatives of graduate students at York, we are committed to continuing to organize around these issues. That is, we will continue to pressure York University and the Faculty of Graduate Studies to improve their approach in supporting graduate students.
As we continue to navigate the uncertainties that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also witnessing the shattering and deadly outcomes of anti-Black racism in the United States and Canada perpetuated by heavy policing of Black and POC communities. We have seen folks in the GTA, and from our own campuses, come together to organize, teach, and to protest the unjust killing of George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain among many others.
As these protests continue to capture the attention of the world, we are also seeing students, staff, and faculty members hold their institutions accountable for the blatant anti-Black racism that takes place in their respective institutions. The York University Graduate Student Association is committed to advocating for and amplifying the voices of York’s Black and racialized community in denouncing anti-blackness in all its forms.
Along with the York Federation of Students and CUPE 3903, we continue to address the detrimental effects of anti-Black racism with senior administrators at York University. We have demanded that York consider implementing courses on anti-oppression for both graduate and undergraduate students. We demand York’s senior administration to amplify the voices of Black academics through providing higher-level positions for them. It is obvious that the grasp of white supremacy is prevalent within our academic institutions and it is crucial that the senior administration at York commit to addressing these issues that affect the York community.
In the past few months, we have collaborated with the York Federation of Students and CUPE 3903 to address various issues that deeply affect the York community. We continue to work closely with YFS and CUPE 3903 as the new academic year begins. This strong partnership has demonstrated the importance of unified solidarity especially during a time in which the senior administration has refused to adequately address the issues of anti-black racism and COVID related issues York students face.
As your 2020-2021 executive board, we are committed to continuing this work, especially during these unprecedented times. We believe that campus and community organizing is what keeps York’s senior administration in check. We urge all graduate students to get involved in the YUGSA council and committees!
The YUGSA Executives
The York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) is a membership-driven organization, representing over 6,000 graduate students at York University. We are made up of the YUGSA Council, the Executives, Staff, and YOU – the graduate students. We represent YOUR interests by advocating on your behalf and providing services to improve your experience as a graduate student.
The YUGSA Council is the highest decision-making authority of YUGSA. It is composed of student representatives from every graduate department, members of the Executive, and two graduate student senators.
The Council meets regularly to discuss and make decisions on issues important to our members. We encourage you to consider representing your department on this decision-making body! Meetings for the upcoming year are tentatively scheduled for the third week of each month. For updates on Council meeting dates and how to become a Councillor, please contact the YUGSA office at 416.736.5865 or email@example.com.
YUGSA acknowledges the existence of systemic barriers that allow for a disproportionate level of participation from different communities. To facilitate more equitable participation, and to address these systemic forms of discrimination, the YUGSA has designated up to twelve (12) Council seats for under-represented constituent groups.
Student Services Coordinator | Bonnie Cormier
As the Student Services Coordinator, Bonnie is responsible for both the day-to-day operations of the YUGSA office and for providing student academic advocacy support. If you aren’t sure where to access support for any issue, whether it is for academic advocacy or not, please feel welcome to contact her. Bonnie is also tasked with administering the Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) and assisting with in-person, e-mail and telephone inquiries.
Farhat is responsible for the YUGSA’s financial bookkeeping and the administration of the health plan for graduate students. As the Finance Coordinator, Farhat manages audits, budget and expense reports, payroll, processing and filing of funding requests, banking needs and more. She is also your primary contact for the health plan for questions regarding benefits and claims, opting in of dependents and partners, or opting out for CUPE 3903 unit 1 and 3 members (TAs & GAs).
Resource Coordinator | Sam Nithiananthan
Sam also coordinates day-to-day operations of the YUGSA office and provides assistance with YUGSA Council meetings, booking space requests, and YUGSA campaigns. He helps to develop strategies in conjunction with the YUGSA Executive to address pressing student issues on campus (e.g. graduate student representation, academic advocacy, budget cuts, etc.) and in response to the government policies (i.e. student debt, employment, funding and aid, etc.). In coordination with the YUGSA Executive, he also provides general assistance to all departmental graduate students’ associations.
President – Fardosa Warsame
Ph. D Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies | firstname.lastname@example.org
As president of the YUGSA, my responsibility is to serve the York community and act as a representative for every graduate student. I chair YUGSA Council meetings and sit on a wide number of committees at York, such as Senate and FGS Council. One of my commitments as President is to enhance graduate student representation on faculty councils. Feel free to email me your ideas, comments and suggestions!
Vice-President Internal – Amarachi Chukwu
Ph. D Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies |email@example.com
As VP Internal I am responsible for maintaining regular communication with departmental Graduate Students’ Associations, Council Members and Chief Councillors. In this position, I will act as a liaison between graduate student members and YUGSA.
Vice-President Campaigns – Ashley Shalmoni
Ph. D Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies | firstname.lastname@example.org
As VP Campaigns, I am determined to develop campaigns that will help and support graduate students. In these times of uncertainty to students’ funding and jobs, it is important to mobilize campus allies and students to stand united in order to push back.
Vice-President Community Relations – Pablo Ramos-Cruz
Ph. D Gender, Social Work | email@example.com
As VP of Community Relations, I will continue strengthening YUGSA relationship with associations, groups, and communities on and off York campus whose business relates to the equity affairs of York graduate students. The intention is to liaise with these groups/organizations to create coalitions of solidarity and cooperation that will tackle equity-based issues that are also impacting York graduate students.
Vice-President Equity – Dhouha Triki
Ph. D Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies | firstname.lastname@example.org
As VP Equity I develop political and equity-based campaigns on issues affecting graduate students. and I ensure to advocate on behalf of our membership. In a time of accelerating cuts to graduate students’ jobs, funding, and services, it’s more important than ever to unite students. I am also responsible for working with our members, as well as various advocacy groups, in bringing attention to important equity based issues our graduate students face.
Vice-President Finance –Yasir Hameed
Ph. D Environmental Studies | email@example.com
As VP Finance and Services I am responsible for the health of YUGSA’s budget. In the course of my term as VP Finance I will create a fiscal budget for the year, adjudicate funding and donation applications for students, and disperse operating grant funds (OGFs) to departmental graduate student associations (DGSAs).
All graduate students registered through the Faculty of Graduate Studies are members of the YUGSA. Each Departmental Graduate Students’ Association (DGSA) elects representatives to YUGSA Council according to a proportional formula based on graduate enrolment. Important decisions including the strategic direction and campaigns work of the organization happens at YUGSA Council.
If your department does not have an active graduate student association and would like to create one, please contact the YUGSA office at 416.736.5865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaigns Committee: YUGSA creates its own campaigns to target issues to defend the rights of graduate students on our campus, and we participate in local, provincial, and national campaigns on issues ranging from showing solidarity with Indigenous peoples, to making public post-secondary education accessible. The V.P. Campaigns calls campaign meetings as need be and all YUGSA members are welcome to attend and participate. For more information, or to join the committee, contact our V.P. Campaigns at email@example.com.
Health Plan Committee: The Health Plan committee is responsible for making decisions regarding changes to plan coverage, as well as administrative changes such as deadlines, fees, or opt-in forms. The Health Plan Committee also responds to petitions from students who wish to be opted-out of the plan after the regular opt-out deadline. Only members elected to the committee by the YUGSA Council may attend. For more information, or to join the committee, contact our V.P. Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finance Committee: The Finance Committee meets periodically to make important collective financial decisions for YUGSA. The YUGSA offers a variety of funding and support for graduate students, ranging from academic funds to bursaries. While these funds are not meant to be a primary source of graduate student funding, they do serve as a small additional aid, and it is important to have members on this committee so that these funds can be dispersed in a timely and equitable manner. Only members elected to the committee by the YUGSA Council may attend. For more information, contact our V.P. Finance at email@example.com.
The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is Canada’s largest student movement. The CFS provides a forum for students to communicate, exchange information, and share experiences, skills and ideas. The CFS also produces research reports for students from issues pertaining to free and accessible education, student debt, sexual violence on campuses, and more.
YUGSA is proud to be Local 84 of the CFS. All members of YUGSA are members of the CFS and are able to access a range of services such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), a national student health network, daily planners, and much more. Check out cfsontario.ca for more information
The structure of the CFS allows for Local 84 to participate as members of both the Ontario and National Graduate Caucus where graduate students from across Canada can discuss, share experiences and strategize around issues pertinent to graduate students.
Please contact us for more information about our services that we may be able to provide on a case-by-case or systematic basis.
ISIC is an internationally recognized proof of full-time student status and is a student discount card accepted in more than 70 countries including Canada. This service is provided through the Canadian Federation of Students and is available for YUGSA members, free of charge.
If you would like to obtain a virtual ISIC card, please visit CFS Ontario. Under the heading “How to get an ISIC” there is a link to apply for a virtual card free of charge. There is also an option to apply for a physical ISIC card for a $5 fee.
The YUGSA Conference Room (430 of the First Student Centre) is a comfortable, multi-purpose and accessible space above the YUGSA office. Members or campus and off-campus groups may book the room during YUGSA office hours for an event. Our space may also be available after office hours subject to availability and with prior agreement from the YUGSA Executive. The room is wheelchair accessible via the First Student Centre elevator to the 4th floor. To book our space, please fill out the online booking form.
In keeping with the YUGSA’s equity mandate and in response to concerns from parents who are YUGSA members and members of the broader York community that there is a lack of space to breastfeed babies on campus, the YUGSA conference room (#430 of the First Student Centre) is available as a drop-in space for nursing parents during our office hours (Monday-Friday from 10am to 4pm). If this space is booked for events, an alternate space can be provided in our main office (#325 of the First Student Centre) or our Overgrad Café (Ross S167).
Located in Ross S167, the OverGrad Café provides a space for graduate students to study and socialize. Graduate students can gain access with a key code sent out via the YUGSA’s newsletter or by contacting the YUGSA office. Members or campus and off-campus groups may also book our OverGrad Café space for events via our online booking form available at yugsa.ca/services.
The York Federation of Students (YFS) runs York University’s only on-campus food bank called the “YFS Food Support Centre”. All graduate students (both full and part-time) requiring emergency food relief are welcome to access this service. The food bank is located in room 005 (Basement level) in the Second Student Centre on Keele Campus. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.736.2100 x44861
It is important to familiarize yourself with The Faculty of Graduate Studies’ (FGS) regulations as well as your own program’s policies, procedures and guidelines. If you do not know where to obtain this information or need help understanding these documents please contact our Student Services Coordinator at email@example.com
If you are facing any issues at York that you are not sure how to address, please feel welcome to drop by the YUGSA office to discuss your concerns with the Student Services Coordinator or the Vice President Equity. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416.736.5865 to speak to the Student Services Coordinator.
When should you come to seek support?
You should definitely come to see us if you are experiencing any of the issues listed above. Some graduate students try to resolve these issues by themselves or ignore them altogether causing the situation to escalate. By speaking with your graduate student advocate, you might be able to address problems early on and avoid/resolve conflicts and stressful situations. If you aren’t sure where to access support for any issue, whether it is academic or not, please feel welcome to come to the YUGSA to talk to an advocate.
What can YUGSA do?
- Listen to your concerns carefully and take them seriously.
- Ask questions to clarify and assess the situation based on the information provided.
- Direct you to information regarding University regulations, policies, and procedures.
- Explore how to address the situation and discuss possible solutions/outcomes.
- Offer to make inquiries to obtain information when appropriate.
- Offer to intervene by setting up meetings with University administration, faculty, and staff when appropriate.
- At your request, a representative from the YUGSA can attend meetings with you as a support person.
- Keep your case records confidential.
- Refer you to other appropriate and relevant services and supports as required.
What can’t YUGSA do?
- Fill out forms on students’ behalf
- Provide legal advice or services
- Resolve employment issues with York (we would refer you to CUPE 3903)
All information you provide to the Student Services Coordinator will be kept confidential. Information will only be shared with third parties with your consent.
How to prepare your case
- Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your program, department and faculty. With over 60 graduate programs at York, we may not be familiar with the policies specific to your program.
- Tell your advocate the whole story truthfully. We are not able to defend you against issues or matters that we are not aware of.
- Please keep notes of any interactions (in-person, over the phone, email and/or mail correspondence) that may have an impact on your case. Important information to especially document: the date, the person you spoke to and what was communicated to you.
Guidelines for Filling Petitions and Appeals
- Follow the guidelines for the petition or appeal process. If you are not sure where to obtain this information, please contact the YUGSA
- Pay attention to deadlines specific to petition/appeal committees for your submission. Follow the program, departmental, Faculty of Graduate Studies and petition/appeal committee policies; failure to do so may adversely affect the outcome of your case
- Present evidence to support your case
- Develop an argument that is coherent and focused
- Keep detailed documentation of all aspects of your case
Who is covered in YUGSA’s Health Plan?
All full-time graduate students in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Schulich School of Business and JD students from Osgoode Law School are automatically enrolled in the YUGSA health plan if they are not TAs or GAs. The health care charge appears around mid-September in the student accounts as ‘GSA Health Care’.
Health care charge for students not physically present in Canada: If a student is taking the Fall course online from their home country, they will be exempted from the plan. If they get charged in error, they can opt-out using the “Coverage provided by foreign governments’ option from our portal at WeSpeakStudent.com.
Students for whom the plan is not mandatory
- Second-year IMBA students away on exchange
- York/Ryerson Joint Graduate program in Communication and Culture
- Outgoing Exchange Students (students leaving York to go away to another country) who are away for more than eight months
- Incoming Exchange Students (students who are coming to York on exchange from another country) who are enrolled for only four months
- CUPE 3903 Unit 1/Unit 3 members (charge gets reversed)
- Students who are sponsored by their Governments and have their own coverage
- Part-time students
Opting into the Plan
Part–time graduate students and dependents of part-time and full-time students are not covered automatically. They will have to opt-in to the plan. To opt-in, the payment is submitted online along with a completed Opt-in form which is available at our portal at WeSpeakStudent.com.
Students who already have supplemental health and dental coverage can opt-out of the plan in the Fall semester. OHIP or UHIP does not count as comparable coverage. Students must opt-out online from our portal at WeSpeakStudent.com before the deadline.
Opt-in and Opt-out Deadlines
THE OPT-IN AND OPT-OUT DEADLINES ARE FINAL
Important note: The YUGSA is not responsible for any late, lost, or misdirected forms. Please note that only official proof of health and dental coverage will be accepted. Documents should bear the Policy name and Policy number for both Health and Dental benefits. Unacceptable proof of coverage includes: provincial coverage, generic claim forms, policy booklets, travel cards, proof of benefits other than health and dental or handwritten statements of coverage.
Who is YUGSA’s Health and Dental provider?
What is my certificate ID number?
Last 7 digits of your student number followed by 3 letters “YGS”.
What is my group number?
Where can I find an outline of benefits?
Online at WeSpeakStudent.com under ‘Your Space’ or at the Health Plan office.
How do I make claims?
Visit WeSpeakStudent.com and submit your claims online from the ‘e-profile’ for claim submission box. You can also download a claim form from this site and mail your claims. Forms are also available at the Health Plan office. Claims forms are to be sent directly to Claim Secure and not to the Health Plan office.
Where can I find more information if there is a problem with my claim?
Contact our Plan Consultants WeSpeakStudent at 1.800.315.1108 or email at email@example.com.
If we WESPEAKSTUDENT is unable to address my concern, who can I contact?
YUGSA Health Plan Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.736.5213
What is the coverage period?
September 1 to August 31 (the following year).
What is the difference between OHIP/UHIP and YUGSA Health Plan?
OHIP is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for Ontario residents which covers general medical care, including doctor’s appointments and hospitalization. UHIP is the equivalent insurance for international students. The YUGSA Health and Dental Plan is a supplementary plan which provides dental and drug coverage. This is a mandatory health plan and therefore full-time students are not allowed to opt-out unless they have alternate coverage.
What is the “DEP#” on the claims form?
This refers to dependant number.
Who is a Dependant?
Dependants are legal or common-law spouse; biological, legally adopted or stepchildren who are unmarried, unemployed and dependent upon the student member, and who are under the age of 21; dependants in school to age 25. Parents are not considered dependants.
Will I get a Health Plan Card?
No. If you would like a card, you can download it at Student Benefit Card or print it through your account with ClaimSecure. You can also pick one from the YUGSA Health Plan office at 325 Student Centre.
Post your political events, socials, jobs, or other announcements in our newsletter. This is a great way to get in touch with thousands of grads in one go.
In March 2020, due to COVID-19, York University reduced campus services, including office spaces, in-person library services, computer labs, research labs, reading rooms, printing services, and childcare, but still told students that their academic responsibilities remain business as usual. YUGSA, acknowledging that many graduate students were facing unanticipated economic and personal hardships and barriers to make progress on their graduate degrees, called for an automatic program extension and a suspension of summer tuition for all graduate students.
YUGSA repeatedly met with York Administration to voice out that many graduate students do not have in their homes adequate access to reliable internet technology, laptops, printers/scanners, and computer programs required to make academic progress on their graduate degrees. Also, we raised many times that many graduate students conducting fieldwork research, placements, and internships were faced with slow progress on their graduate degrees. YUGSA together with other student advocacy groups pushed York University to grant some concessions regarding tuition and extensions. They were not enough but we will keep on fighting.
At the same time, recognizing that many of our members are dealing with difficult financial times due to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 and many members are facing reduced hours, lost jobs, and a sudden need for money to buy basic necessities to stay at home, YUGSA created an Emergency Student Hardship Fund/Bursary with a surplus of money that was available. Also, we encouraged DGSAs to create departmental bursaries with unused funding from the last OGF installment they received. Hundreds of graduate students were impacted by both initiatives. This year, YUGSA will continue advocating and following up York University unilateral decisions that impact graduate students during the pandemic.
During the past months, there has been an increase in complaints done by graduate students against the York Apartments administration. YUGSA has contacted FGS to start addressing together those issues that are distressing several graduate students who are campus residents at York University. Some of the issues brought to YUGSA attention are:
- The lack of follow up by York Apartments on students apartments complains;
- The lack or slow communication by email or phone with students apartments issues;
- Concerns with building security;
- Inefficient management of the heating and cooling system, causing potential health issues;
- Apartments having problems with potable water or the water been shut down without notice;
- Rent increase during a pandemic, regardless of student’s economic hardships
We have been reminding the university administration that the residents at York Apartments and Student Housing are people with families, many who do not have alternate accommodations, many who have lost jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are international students with limited health coverage, and many are people with disabilities. Their actions in the past months have been quite distressing for such people. YUGSA is pushing the university to take a compassionate approach during this crisis and to consider the fundamental human rights and dignity of their tenants. YUGSA already started the conversation with FGS and York Apartments to begin meeting on a monthly basis to address these issues.
As we watched a global uprising following the murder of George Floyd and the on-going police violence against racialized and Black folks. Incidents of anti-Blackness and racism are nothing new to racialized bodies. As students, these issues are not in the past; they are everyday realities that are faced on our campuses and in our very own classrooms. We have held government officials accountable; we have held police officers accountable, and it is now time to look no further than our own front door. It is time to hold our administration accountable and ensure that York University’s racist, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous history ends here. Every journey begins with a footstep, and those steps toward change begin right here with us.
The YUGSA along with the York Federation of Students, and York’s worker’s union, CUPE 3903, have come together to develop an Anti-Racism Campaign and Anti-Racism Coalition. This campaign, along with our open letter to President Rhonda Lenton, is a call to action with tangible demands we would like to see met in the fight against anti-Blackness and racism on our York University campuses. Our Campaign demands call on York’s President Rhonda Lenton and the administration to take the following 7 concrete actions:
Ensuring the safety of Black members of the York community means listening to their demands and implementing meaningful changes. Racial slurs like the n-word used in class by professors, in-class targeted microaggressions, issues of racial profiling, and a severe lack of Black representation in positions of power, points to a continued failure to address issues of anti-Black racism, harassment, and discrimination across the University.
Our Anti-Racism campaign calls on the York University community to share their testimonials as Black, Indigenous, or Racialised students with the hashtags #BlackAtYork or #POCatYork and tag president Rhonda Lenton.
In June 2020, York University’s senior administration released the Cromwell Report and the Initiative on Open and Respectful Dialogue Working Group Report following an internal and external investigation of what transpired on November 20, 2019 at York University. Upon reviewing these reports, it is evident that York University is more invested in seeming like its senior administrators are taking racism seriously, however, the fact of the matter is that these are merely performative rituals that consistently result in no institutional change.
Further, it is our view that the senior administration’s lack of transparency concerning the implementation and enforcement of campus anti-racism policies presents systemic barriers to racialized students negatively impacted by the partial response of the administration. Following his report of what transpired on our campus on November 20, 2019, Justice Cromwell recommends that York University consider adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Anti-Semitism.
The YUGSA, along with a number of other unions on our campus, consider the IHRA working definition to be inappropriate in any setting, but especially at our university. It is our stance that the IHRA working definition is dangerously vague and conflates anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The IHRA definition represents a real threat to any York students, union organizers, and human rights activists who support or work for Palestinian human rights. In terms of public interests concerning the matter, the IHRA’s definition is also opposed by several academics at York University and over 40 Jewish organizations around the world.
As your union representatives, we believe that adopting the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism poses a real threat on our freedom of speech and any form of political dissent against the on-going colonization and occupation of Palestine. If you wish to learn more about this campaign, or if you are interested in becoming involved in this campaign, you can send an email to email@example.com
In every single province across Canada, it is a condoned practice to charge exorbitant differential tuition fees for international students. On average, international students pay $25,589.00 per year for a general arts degree in Canada; an amount close to four times more than domestic students. In most provinces, international students are not covered under provincial health insurance and must rely on expensive private health insurance programs. Recently, the Government of Canada made it harder for international students to stay in Canada after graduation.
Food and retail work, common jobs for students, were unlisted as valid Canadian work experience that would count towards a permanent residency application. Many international students are also confronted with racism and xenophobia in daily interactions in their classrooms and communities. Along with the Canadian Federation of Students, we believe that this country only benefits when we make education more accessible to all. For more information on this campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Graduate Student in Canada Collective is a grassroots movement of graduate students/workers organizing against the neoliberalization of Universities and its disproportionate impact on students during this global pandemic. At York University, senior university administration said that graduate students should work with supervisors to discuss their program completion in light of the COVID-19 crisis. They recommended talking with supervisors to reorder components of degree requirements. In addition, they said that program extensions will only be given on a case-by-case basis, where necessary, and when graduate students receive an extension, it will be a single-term extension with part-time student status. Basically, this means that the only option for us as graduate students is to work with our supervisors and program administrators to figure out our degree plans, despite the fact that this crisis has affected everyone’s capacity to continue working.
As we begin a new academic year, we will continue to advocate for academic program extensions and tuition waivers and/or reimbursements. If you are interested in supporting our organizing efforts for more graduate student accessibility during these unprecedented times, please sign our online petition. If you are interested in becoming involved, feel free to reach out to one of the YUGSA executives, and find Graduate Students in Canada’s Facebook and Twitter.
The YUGSA Executive will be organizing a working group responsible for preparing a draft in our bylaws, detailing policies regarding discrimination and harassment. The intention of this new bylaw is to clearly describe the process of addressing issues of racial/ethnic discrimination/harassment, and sexual/gender discrimination/harassment between graduate students and YUGSA employees or between graduate students and YUGSA executive members. Other forms of discrimination and harassment will also be considered in the creation of the new bylaw.
On the basis of budgetary allowances, funds or materials may be available to student groups to help with expenses of events, projects, or activities related to the well being of graduate students and community members. Examples of funded projects include: conferences, film screenings, and lectures. Direct expenses are defined as the cost of supplies, materials, and services expended on the project. All events, projects or activities must uphold the equity mandate of the YUGSA.
Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis at YUGSA Council and applicants may be requested to attend a Council meeting to speak to their donation request.
Please submit forms ahead of council dates using our online application form: Donation Request Form
DUE TO COVID-19 THIS SERVICE IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED WHILE THE OFFICE IS PHYSICALLY CLOSED. If you are in need of financial assistance resources please contact our Student Services Coordinator: email@example.com
The Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) is an interest-free loan of up to $350.00 and is designed to help offset members’ immediate financial barriers. All full YUGSA members are eligible to apply for a loan, provided that they do not have any outstanding amounts owing to the YUGSA.
To apply please visit the YUGSA office during our regular hours of operation and please bring with you:
- Proof of enrolment as a York University graduate student for the current term for which you are applying for a loan Your York ID card & government-issued photo identification
- Post-dated cheques (required for repayment plan)
- An agreement will be signed between you and the YUGSA, outlining a repayment schedule. The loan is repaid through post-dated cheques which you provide at the time the loan is issued. Please contact the YUGSA office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the Emergency Loan Fund process.
This fund provides some additional financial support to international graduate students who face higher tuition fees and are not able to access many of the resources that domestic students can access for support. Eligible students may apply once per year using our online application form available at yugsa.ca/services/funding by the April 1st deadline. Up to $200.00 is available, although the final amount is determined by the total number of successful applicants.
This fund provides up to $200.00 per successful applicant per academic term for graduate students with dependents who are in need of financial support. There are three deadlines to apply: August 1st, December 1st and April 1st. Applicants may apply for each round of funding but priority will be given to first time applicants. Eligible students are encouraged to apply online.
This fund supports the volunteer work of graduate students and community organizations at York and in surrounding area communities. Only one application per organization per funding period is eligible. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply online.
These funds provide limited funding (determined by the number of successful applicants) to graduate students following proof of expenditures and is designed to assist graduate students in their academic endeavors. Our funding deadlines are August 1, December 1, and April 1 every year. There are three funds available:
Conference Support to help offset the costs of presenting a paper or poster at a conference; Conference Support Funding Application
Thesis Support to help offset the costs involved in producing Master’s and Ph.D. theses or major papers; Thesis Support Funding Application
Skills Development Support to help offset the costs related to endeavours which help students develop overall skills in relation to their program of study, such as voluntary internships, language training and professional development opportunities. Skills Development Funding Application
*Please note, YUGSA members are limited to only one successful application from YUGSA’s Academic Funds (Conference, Thesis or Skills Development Fund) per funding period (May-April).
A portion of the YUGSA budget is allotted for program-level departmental graduate student associations (DGSAs). A base amount of $100.00 is allotted to each completed application, with the remaining funds being distributed across associations based on the number of full-time and part-time students enrolled in that program in the preceding fall semester. The operating grant application as well as the accompanying DGSA’s constitution submission deadline is November 21, 2019. In order to be eligible, departmental representatives are required to attend Council meetings and an anti-oppression training session in the Fall. The funds are typically distributed in two installments – usually in December and March. For more information please contact our V.P. Finance at email@example.com
This fund supports the intellectual and artistic work of graduate students and the publications with which they are involved. Publications must meet the equity mandate of the YUGSA. Only one application per funding period (May-April) is eligible. To apply, please submit an application online.