Canadian Alliance of Students launches campaign week in Ottawa

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The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), a national student organization composed of 21 student associations, has been working to improve Canada’s post-secondary education system since 1995 — and they aren’t stopping now.

As part of CASA’s advocacy week, representatives from across Canada joined together on Parliament Hill throughout the week of Nov. 15 to call for further improvements to Canada’s post-secondary education system.

Imprint caught up with Johnathon Rix, Chair of the Board of Directors for CASA.

“We had over 160 meetings on Parliament Hill last week,” he confirmed.

Throughout the week, CASA advocated for a number of issues, including increasing support of indigenous students in order to right educational inequality, providing funding for initial assessments of mental health disabilities, extending the student loan repayment grace period further, making use of open-educational resources to reduce professor prep time and textbook prices, and increasing paid experiential opportunities in Canadian post-secondary institutions.

In order to accomplish this, CASA is making recommendations such as the government dedicating $7 million per year to pilot an open-educational resource program, investing $27 million per year to establish six-month, interest-free grace periods on loans, and having the Canadian government implement a training model similar to one used in Quebec.

Of the issues CASA brought forward, Rix emphasized a greater concern over the lack of inclusivity and diversity in post-secondary education.

“I think that the most important thing that CASA likes to emphasize is ensuring that everyone has access to university,” Rix said. “There are people in this country who are struggling to access education from low and middle income backgrounds who need support.”

CASA looks toward a future where all members of Canada’s multicultural and diverse society are equally represented in the post-secondary education system. Rix further commented on CASA’s stance.

 “The ideal is that any student in Canada who wants to obtain a post-secondary education and has the intellectual ability to do so should be able to, no matter who they are or where they’re from or anything like that, and I think we certainly emphasized that last week,” Rix said.

“The recommendations we [brought forward] provide a means for the government to turn this vision into a reality,” Rix said in a press release.

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