The Canadian Alliance of Student Association’s (CASA) and the Quebec Student Union’s (QSU) are lobbying the government on behalf of international students and the difficulties they face when they come to study in Canada.
As part of the groups’ advocacy week efforts, students from across the country travelled to Ottawa this week to bring this and other issues to the attention of politicians on Parliament Hill.
They argue that, despite paying skyrocketing tuition fees, international students often miss out from participating in co-ops and internships because of unnecessary barriers in the immigration system.
Article 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act also prevents international students from getting immigration advice from their campus international office, unless the staff has obtained a costly and time-consuming certification.
The students say these factors have further exacerbated the challenges that international students face.
They are also demanding that the government do more to prevent and deal with gender-based violence on campus.
Statistics show that no campus has been immune from the devastating impacts of sexual violence and nearly half of all reported sexual assaults in Canada are committed against young people, 41% of whom are also students.
As such, the students have identified sexual violence prevention and support services on campus as a priority, and want the government to change their approach in addressing the issue.
They’re also recommending that the $5.5 million invested in sexual violence prevention in last year’s budget be used to develop a concrete standard, outlining the minimum services needed on campus to prevent sexual violence and to support students who have been impacted.
The move is in connection with the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.