Staging a walkout, Manitoba students call for investments in fellowships and grants

Across Canada, students at various post-secondary institutions have come together to demand one thing: fairer and more decent wages.

This was the case of the students of the University of Manitoba who organized a strike in front of the campus of establishment on Monday. Demands from graduate and postdoctoral students boiled down to wanting greater investment in scholarships, fellowships, and grants.

“The real focus today is to advocate for the federal government and the tri-agency council to come forward two decades from now,” said Masters student and Graduate Science Student Association member Morgan Taverner. of the health of the UofM.

The Canadian government offers scholarships to students in various fields of research, the value of which depends on the type of field. For example, a fellowship with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada leads to a stipend of $45,000 per year.

On the other hand, the Federal Banting Fellowship offers $70,000 annually and deals with research areas such as health, natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences.

The salary a student receives, according to Taverner, is the exact wage he has to count on for the year.

“The prices have gotten to the point where students have to skip meals. They have to live (with) more than five people in one house. It’s really unacceptable,” Taverner said.

In an email, local organizer Levy Newduc said the situation was dire. He said the federal government should increase the value and number of scholarships and fellowships for students.

“Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are the workforces driving innovations at Canadian universities,” Newduk said. “Federal scholarships, fellowships, and research grants provide most of the wages they [earn].”

Lauren McGowan, another member of the Health Sciences Graduate Student Union, said that while protesters are calling for government change, the university has remained supportive of students’ needs.

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