I was a PhD 10 y ago earning the same stipend that students earn today. Even back then living off an NSERC PGS-D was hard. I lived in insecure housing and rode my bike everywhere, even in -30 deg winter. Some months I had to choose between rent and groceries. I was invited to a celebration for an award I won and my advisor was embarrassed by my wardrobe. She lent me a cardigan so I would not be a disgrace. I was told I was valuable and lauded for my academic accomplishments, but I was expected to live in shameful poverty and be grateful for an inadequate stipend. I can’t imagine how students manage on that pittance today.
If postdoctoral funding was CAD $60,000/yr for all postdocs, how would that change your life? Many have waited until after graduating from their PhD to start families, but it is not affordable to have children on a postdoc stipend. This drives many, particularly women, out of academia. With a $60,000 base salary, many more would be able to afford childcare and adequate housing to continue pursuing their passion for research without sacrificing their family plans.