FGS Response to Petition

On behalf of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, I want to acknowledge receipt of the petition, signed by hundreds of students, and sympathise greatly with the challenges that students are facing, during this pandemic. The public health restrictions are necessary for curtailing the severity and length of the crisis, but they come with great impact on our personal lives, adding to and intensifying our roles and responsibilities with our families and communities.

I delayed responding to this petition, because each day I expected more clarification from the different levels of government as restrictions shifted and news of emergency relief programs was announced. The Federal Government has since announced the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which provide supplementary income support, from $1250 to $2000 per month over the summer. The CESB specifically has provision for students on their own and with family responsibilities. We encourage all students to assess their eligibility.

Over the past weeks, programs and Faculties have also been identifying the extent of the impacts on program delivery, students’ research projects and progress in detail, while working to enable winter term completion and transform the offering of a full suite of summer courses through remote and online delivery for those who need them. The demand for summer courses is great, and enrolment is beyond strong. That does not deny that restrictions on in-person contact, travel, and access to a variety of research sites, equipment, and material have stalled the research that depends on this access. With the help of their supervisors, students have been determining whether there are other parts of their projects that can move forward. If no progress can be made, and particularly in light of the federal support possibilities, please consider whether a leave of absence is appropriate and viable. In response to the pandemic, leaves are free of charge. They enable you to preserve your funding for when the lifting of restrictions will allow you to continue your studies and research. Program extensions are under discussion and the need is well understood. We hope to have more information in the coming days.

Sincerely,

image of the Dean's web signature

Thomas Loebel,
Dean & AVP Graduate
Faculty of Graduate Studies,
York University