During my Master's my savings were used up and by my second year had to move into a camper van and live in a parking lot near campus. The remainder of my stipend went to food, car insurance/gas, and a plane ticket home for Christmas. Eventually, when my funding was completely exhausted even paying for those things became untenable and I was forced to move back to Manitoba for the first time in 12 years and live with my parents in order to finish my degree. Through all of this, my mental health and quality of life declined greatly and moving home was done only as a last resort. If I was able to secure more stable funding, and better funding, I would be able to find a comfortable place to live in British Columbia and be more collaborative and engaged with my research group and school experience and have a more enjoyable and happy experience as a researcher.
If graduate funding was CAD $35,000/yr for all students, how would that change your life? $35,000 would go a long way to paying rent in the expensive markets of B.C. and allow me to live more comfortably and stably for the year. I would not have to live with my parents or in a camper van, but hopefully, be able to find a comfortable home in a comfortable neighbourhood near my friends and the school. It would also greatly influence me to remain in research and academia, something that has always been my ultimate career goal but that has become increasingly unreasonable as the cost of living increases.
Additional comments: Increasing the award amounts would greatly support researchers. That said, a major problem with the system is that a large number of students don't receive any award, and thus are completely excluded from living a comfortable life during graduate school.