I am an international student and PhD Candidate at McGill University. My funding has been really poor since I started my program in 2018. I was startled to know that the minimum federal funding for doctoral students $35,000. The highest funding I've received since starting my program is $25,000 out of which about $19,000 was used for paying my tuition. That means my stipend for a whole academic year is about $6,000. How can anyone survive in Montreal as a PhD student with these crumbs? It's really unfortunate.
As a result, I've had to take on several RA, and TA positions to offset my living expenses. At a point during the first term of schooling, I had to work in Dollarama to help offload containers earning 12$ an hour. How horrible is that? I'm now in my 5th year and luckily I got FRQSC funding this year. And that is 21,000$ a year. As a result, my department is not giving me any funding for the 2022-2023 academic year. Something needs to be done. It's horrifying what I've gone through.
If graduate school funding was $35,000 Canadian per year for all students, how would that change your life? Well, I don't know if this applies to international students. But I can say if graduate funding is increased to $35,000, that will help a lot. As someone who has survived on less than $25,000 funding a year, if I'm given 35k, my academics will flourish more than what it is. This is because I will be able to focus more on my research and writing, rather than stressing about how to pay rent, and other living costs. This is a serious matter and should be taken seriously.