My supervisor passed away during the pandemic and their funding will be withdrawn in March 2023, and I will soon be out of the funded cohort starting Sept 2022, which makes my stipend up for re-evaluation, and it will be less than it was before. I typically receive around 33000 annually which includes 190 TA hours (~$43/hr), and after removing tuition which is around 8000, I have 25000 annually (~$2000/month). Since I moved out and living on my own, my roommate of 4 years left and I could not afford the whole space and had to move out to a different apartment. The rent is $1700/month, which leaves me ~$300 on utilities, internet, mobile, and groceries. Since the place I am living in is not under rent control (thanks Doug Ford) it will be $2000/month starting Sept 2022. At the current rate, I am using up my personal saving to support myself at grad school. The department is NOT providing additional support (such as delaying funding cuts) since the passing of my old PI, so it is amazing :)
If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? Honestly, with the current rate of rent increase in Toronto, increasing the stipend to $35000 annually does not really match the daily expenses. Yes, I understand I could move to a basement apartment which is around $1500/month right now, or even share a unit, but being this late in the PhD with no idea how many more months I still have till graduation and where I will go, it is becoming such a hassle. Not to add to the fact that the rental market is very competitive and it is difficult to even land a viewing and potentially sign a lease, and to coordinate with someone else, on top of all the academic and administrative responsibility, it is hard. I believe apart from stipend increase, there should be rent subsidies and bursaries for students. The school should provide more given we are essentially cheap labour to the department, being a cheap lab tech/RA, TAing, and fulfilling teaching duties that no other faculty wants to.