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PhD Holder

I received NSERC scholarships in my Masters and in my PhD. I was a single parent when I started grad school, and we survived by eating carefully (no fancy things like butter), not having a car and getting subsidized childcare. But rent kept rising and eventually not having a car was physically damaging so I started getting into debt. By the end of my PhD I was married and pregnant with my 3rd baby. I was still the sole breadwinner (spouse didn’t have a work permit), and we had to consolidate our debt but I was still lucky because multiple scholarships on top of NSERC had made it possible to stay housed and fed. But looking at post-doc salaries the message was clear - this isn’t for you. We wouldn’t qualify for an apartment on that salary, so we ended up leaving Canada to find better opportunities. I was winning awards, publishing, committed, but why stay where you so clearly aren’t valued? Canada’s loss.

If postdoctoral funding was CAD $60,000/yr for all postdocs, how would that change your life? We probably would have had a better chance of being able to qualify for housing and stay in Canada after my PhD. I would have stayed in academia like I wanted to.

Additional comments: I think it unethical to encourage women and minorities people to pursue grad school if we are then forcing them to live at unsustainable and damaging wages. Poverty had long-reaching ramifications, we can’t sustain diversity without equitable wages.


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