WE ARE AN ORGANIZATION ADVOCATING FOR INCREASED PAY FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS AND POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS IN ALL FIELDS ACROSS CANADA
Faces of Next Generation Researchers Campaign
Make it personal - share how Canada's current funding landscape affects you.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES
I never knew that to do science in Canada would mean living in poverty.
...it's impossible to live with this income, so pretty often I need to participate in clinical trials, so I can have enough money to cover all my expenses (rent, food, and tuition).
I will not seek to extend my contract, nor am I looking at other jobs in Canada, primarily due to insufficient salaries compared to the increased cost of living.
Jonathan, Graduate Student
During my Master's my savings were used up and by my second year had to move into a camper van and live in a parking lot near campus.
The Faces of Graduate Students in Canada
What is a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar?
Graduate and postdoctoral scholars drive the science and innovation that keeps Canada competitive on the global stage. Without their work, research, innovation, and economic development in Canada would grind to a halt.
Those unfamiliar with graduate students might wonder why 'students' are paid at all. But being a graduate student is a full-time job. Most work 40+ hours a week to conduct research and assist with teaching and typically take only a few (i.e., 1-3) classes during their entire degree.
Postdoctoral scholars are those who have completed a doctoral degree and continue to conduct research across many sectors in Canada. This is a full-time position, held by a highly qualified individual, that involves a number of different duties including leading research projects, supervising students, and teaching.
How does funding work?
Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars rely on federal funding from the Tri-Council Funding Agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). These scholarships and fellowships are highly competitive and are designed to allow graduate students and postdoctoral scholars financial security to fully focus on their research.
While most graduate students and postdoctoral fellows do not receive these highly competitive awards, their values do set the standard for funding across Canada. Increasing these award and fellowship amounts means we increase the pay ceiling for more than just award recipients.
Why do we need change?
The majority of the Tri-Agency awards amount to less than minimum wage and place recipients below the poverty line. Graduate scholarship awards have remained unchanged for nearly 20 years, and postdoctoral fellowships had only a small increase in the same time period. As the cost of living has steadily increased, these scholarships and fellowships now provide inadequate support or incentive to continue to do this work in Canada.