I am fortunate enough to have had PDF opportunities that paid above the minimum stipend, but it is still insufficient considering the amount of preparation and all the years we spend studying and researching. One of my friends said that my salary was "shameful" considering my qualifications. Currently, I live with my partner on a double income, but when I was looking for opportunities living on a single income was hard. As PDFs are usually contract-based positions, life planning is hard. It is expected that we are available to move to pursue new opportunities, but many of us just wish financial security to settle down, buy a house, contribute to the community or raise a family. I don't plan on leaving academia as I want to become a professor to help change the academic culture, to fight for inclusion and because I LOVE research, but with the current situation it's easy to see why so many scientists give up on brilliant careers.
If postdoctoral funding was CAD $60,000/yr for all postdocs, how would that change your life? While the increase is welcomed and will be a first step towards a more sustainable situation for students and PDFs, it is still not ideal. Undeniably, on a personal level it would make my life more comfortable, but it is still not an incentive to make people stay in academia and pursue a career as opposed to finding more stable and better-paying positions in industry or the government. A viable solution is to have funding that would be readjusted taking investment, inflation and cost of life as parameters so it would give students and scholars a fighting chance to live and pursue exceptional quality science. Great minds need more to run than free food from seminars and coffee.
Additional comments: We should not forget that marginalized groups such as women, BIPOC, LGBTQIAP+ and foreign-born individuals suffer the most in the current dynamic and are often unfunded or insufficiently funded.