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News / Student-led group stages mass walkout over low pay

News / Student-led group stages mass walkout over low pay

By CAUT Staff

Thousands of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty and staff at 41 post-secondary institutions across Canada walked out on May 1 to demand increases to federal scholarships, fellowships and grants to keep pace with inflation.

The protests, organized by the student-led group Support our Science, called on the federal government to increase investments in Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) scholarships and fellowships, and to increase research grants for the “express purpose of increasing pay to graduate and postdoctoral scholars.”

The group said that many of “Canada’s brightest and most promising early career scientists and engineers” now live below the poverty line, as living and tuition costs have steadily increased, while scholarships and wages have remained flat for two decades.

“Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are the frontline workers of science and innovation in Canada. These same students and postdocs are facing significant financial challenges, and in many cases are living below the poverty line,” said Sarah Laframboise, a biochemistry PhD student at the University of Ottawa and executive director of Support Our Science. “This puts a burden on Canadian innovation as a whole and will have significant implications on our ability to tackle the grand challenges of today and tomorrow.”

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