More than teaching, coursework, or any of my other responsibilities as a PhD student, a lack of funding has distracted me from my research the most. It is extremely difficult to remain focused and productive while I'm thinking about how I'm going to keep paying rent and buying groceries. I simply do not feel valued by Canadian institutions as a PhD student.
If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? A salary of 35k would be significant increase in take-home pay and finally bring me above the poverty line in Ontario. If this were to happen, it should be recognized as a major improvement for graduate students. Even still, a salary of 35k would not be enough for me to feel comfortable starting a family or making long-term financial commitments. It's emblematic of just how badly graduate student pay has stagnated that a 40% increase in my take home pay would barely move the needle.