My stipend is 20,000$ per year, which means $1750 per month. With this, I need to pay my school's tuition fee, house rent, groceries and other expenses. There are times it's not enough and I need to ask for money from my parents. Even for going back to my home country to meet my family, I don't have money. This is the plight of a PhD student that no one says. The minimum wage that can be paid to PhD student should be increased by the Universities. It's a humble request! Also, with this stipend, I cannot think of getting married or starting a family. Doing PhD takes a lot of time and effort and so I cannot even work part-time to earn extra money. I am sure this is the reason a lot of students lose interest in research/academia.
If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? With this stipend, I can comfortably carry on my PhD without worrying. The biggest help would be that I would not need to ask for money from family and friends. This would also keep me motivated towards doing quality research. Having this much stipend would improve my quality of life, the food I eat and even my mental health.
Additional comments: Universities should increase the minimum stipend that can be paid to PhD students, as it's in the hands of professors and so they pay as per their convenience. However, having an improved minimum wage would really be helpful to students and will promote interest in academia.