CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS – NOVA SCOTIA

With more than 10,000 members in the Maritimes and over 500,000 members at 64 students’ unions across Canada, the Canadian Federation of Students is the voice of accessible post-secondary education across the country.

Our Federation represents domestic and international students at the college, undergraduate and graduate levels, including full and part-time students. For over thirty years, students have been united in the fight to eliminate tuition fees and student debt. Students continue to advocate for more sustainable and equitable campuses and communities.

Join us by reaching out to us at campaigns@cfs-ns.ca or by following us on social media @cfsns

Vote for the Future

on August 17, 2021

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. It has created an economic, health, and social crisis, and contributed to hardship for all Nova Scotians.

For students this has meant moving to online classes, taking on more debt, housing and food insecurity, and prospects of a challenging and unpredictable job market.

This provincial election, students are joining together to present a vision for a just recovery in Nova Scotia.

Post-secondary education in Nova Scotia has been underfunded and inaccessible for years. The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the system to the breaking point.

Domestic undergraduate students in Nova Scotia are paying the highest tuition fees in the country and international students are paying on average 3 times more than domestic students. And while there is some debt relief for students in Nova Scotia through the loan forgiveness program, our current programs punish people who are unable to finish their degrees. 

In January 2021, the Nova Scotia government provided a $25 million investment to help Nova Scotia universities manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, universities have continued to raise tuition fees for students during the global pandemic.

Many low wage workers put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic and at the same time, a persistently low minimum wage has meant that necessities like housing and internet are increasingly unaffordable for many Nova Scotians. 

Nova Scotia’s minimum wage is currently $12.95, while the living wage for Halifax is calculated to be $21.80 and for Cape Breton Regional Municipality it is $17.65. The average price of a two-bedroom apartment in Halifax has increased 43% in the last five years while minimum wage has only gone up 15%. 

Housing is a human right and reliable internet has become a necessity, but high housing and internet costs and low wages are making affording education increasingly out of reach.

International students bring so much to our communities, campuses, and local economies but when it came time to receive relief during the COVID-19 crisis they were left out. 

Our post-secondary education system relies on international students paying exorbitant fees to keep our universities financially viable. Differential fees mean that international students pay on average 3 times the tuition fees of domestic students. 

International students aren’t eligible for Medical Services Insurance until 13 months after their arrival to Nova Scotia. During that 13 month period, international students can’t leave the province for more than 31 days. Over the past year, international students were excluded from most Covid-relief measures and have faced challenges accessing Covid testing and vaccines.

The climate crisis is a serious threat to current and future generations and a just recovery from COVID needs to put us on a path toward climate justice. 

In 2017, Nova Scotia relied on coal for about 55% of its annual electricity needs and still has the dirtiest electricity grid in Canada. Moving Nova Scotia’s electricity supply to 90% renewable energy by 2030 would create more than 35,000 new jobs in Nova Scotia. Opinion polling found that 85% of Nova Scotians want a shift away from fossil fuels and support for affected workers.

While climate change affects everyone, Indigenous, Black and other marginalized communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the climate crisis because they are more likely to be exposed to pollution and contamination and are already being hit first and worst by rising sea levels, intense heat waves and storms, poor air quality, and other effects of climate change.

Over the past year, Indigenous and Black-led movements pushed back against racism and colonialism. These injustices are neither new phenomena nor part of the distant past in Nova Scotia. There is a lot of work to be done towards justice for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Nova Scotia.

The Halifax Street Checks report (2019) found that Black people in Halifax were 6 times more likely to be stopped by the police. Across Canada, 16% of people killed by police are Indigenous, though Indigenous people make up only 4.21% of the population. Black people form 8.63% of people killed by police but only 2.92% of the population. In 2020, the Nova Scotia government budgeted over $151.1 million for policing, not including staff salaries. 

As of December 2020, Canada had only completed 8 of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to address the legacy of residential schools. Many of the Calls to Action require action and investment from provincial governments, including Calls to Action around child welfare, education, language, health, and more.

Member Locals

Local 07: Student Union of NSCAD University
Local 11: University of King’s College Students’ Union
Local 34: Mount Saint Vincent University Students’ Union
Local 69: Association générale des étudiants de l’Université Sainte-Anne
Local 95 : Cape Breton University Students’ Union
Local 113 : Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students

Prospective Member: Dalhousie Student Union

 

Executive & Staff

Chairperson: Kris Reppas
Deputy Chairperson: Jesse Sutherland
Treasurer: Joanna Clark
Local 07 Representative: vacant
Local 11 Representative: Aideen Reynolds
Local 34 Representative: vacant
Local 69 Representative: vacant
Local 95 Representative: vacant
Local 113 Representative: vacant
Prospective Member Dalhousie Student Union Representative: vacant
Indigenous Students’ Representative: Kassidy Bernard
International Students’ Representative: Sophia Fortuna
Racialized Students’ Representative: Jasmine Tang
Women’s Representative: Samarah Shaffelburg

Lobbying

Just Recovery for Students: 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. It has created an economic, health, and social crisis, and contributed to hardship for all Nova Scotians. Students are joining together to present a vision for a just recovery for post-secondary education in Nova Scotia.

Stand up for Students: 2019

In Nova Scotia tuition fees are the second highest in Canada, at an average of $8,153 for the 2018-19 academic year, compared to a national average of $6,838. Accessing an education—increasingly essential to securing a good job and grows the province’s economy has shifted from a public good to a personal investment that is ac- companied by life-impacting debt. Read more on student demands in this January 2019 lobby document. 

Education Justice: 2018

The Federation’s 2018 report explains that efforts to eradicate social inequality in our society are intimately linked to the fight for a fully publicly-funded, accessible post-secondary education system.

HRM: A City for Students: 2017

Post-secondary students are vital to the economic stability and cultural vibrancy of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). The six high-quality post-secondary institutions paired with the unique city landscape have made the HRM a hub for student activity, and students currently represent 1 in every 13 Haligonians.

Investing in the Future: 2017

Nova Scotia’s post-secondary education system is vital to the social and economic wellbeing of our province.The ten universities and one community college that make up this system are key to ensuring individuals can access the skills and training they need to participate in a rapidly changing economy.

Working Towards Consent Culture: 2017

A significant barrier to accessing and succeeding in college and university is the prevalence of sexual violence on campus, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Young women aged 15 to 24 experience higher instances of sexual violence in Canada than any other age group, with the rates of sexual assault experienced by this age group being 18 times higher than that of Canadians 55 and older.

Charting a New Course: 2015

Nova Scotia’s post-secondary education system, suffering from million of dollars in pub- lic funding cuts and an ever-in- creasing reliance on tuition fees, is heading in the wrong direction.

Face the Future: 2014

Pursuing a post-secondary education has become increasingly essential to Nova Scotians across the province. With 70% of new jobs being created in our economy requiring some form of post-secondary degree, our universities and colleges play an increasingly central role in the prosperity of Nova Scotia and its citizens.

Public Opinion Polling

Public Support for Public Education: 2018

This brief illustrates Nova Scotians’ consistent support for a high quality, well funded post- secondary education system over 10 years and three different governments.

Building for the Future: 2014

This brief provides an excellent opportunity for the incoming Liberal government to improve post-secondary education in Nova Scotia. It lays out a clear mandate to reverse the dam- age done by government underfund- ing to our universities, and to finally deliver accessible higher education to students and their families.

Public Opinion on Post-Secondary Education: 2010

More Nova Scotians are concerned about the affordability of post-secondary education than taxation, unemployment, and crime.

Post Secondary Education & Public Opinion: 2007

Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3912, Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union.

Reports and Fact Sheets

Skills Magazine

This magazine has information about organizing, media, events and more. You can refer to this when you need to write a press release or need some new event idea’s and we hope it will be a helpful tool for you during your time on your student’s union and beyond.

Campus Toolkit for Creating Consent Culture

Students have the power to build a strong consent culture on and beyond our campuses. This Campus Toolkit for Creating Consent Culture is part of our ongoing commitment to end sexual and gender-based violence on campus. Complementing the No Means No and Consent is Mandatory campaigns, this toolkit was created to support ongoing campus-based work at students’ unions and gender resource centres.

MOU Membership Advisory: 2019

The first 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the province and the universities was signed on Thursday, September 12, 2019. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement signed between the provincial government and CONSUP – the Council of Nova Scotia University President’s that dictates university funding, tuition fees, amongst other things.

MOU Fact Sheet: 2018

Despite being a cornerstone of our communities there has been no vision or policy for access to post-secondary education. Since the 1990’s, average undergraduate tuition fees in Nova Scotia have increased by 272%

Little Spending, No Vision: 2017

On Thursday, April 27 2017, Nova Scotia’s Liberal government tabled the fourth and possibly last budget of its mandate. This budget contains little spending on supports for students and youth, and no vision to end the student debt crisis in Nova Scotia. 

Reject the Reset: 2016

In the 2015-2016 provincial bud- get, the McNeil government lifted the three per cent cap on annual tuition increases for universities in Nova Scotia. This tuition fee reset allows university adminis- trations to hike students’ fees by an unlimited amount for an un- defined period of time.

Consent Culture Forum Report: 2016

Students have been using the No Means No campaign to challenge rape culture and combat sexualized violence on university and college campuses for over 20 years. Today, students continue to work tirelessly to support survivors, educate campus communities, and advocate for better support services from university and government decision makers.

Budget Submissions

Pre-Budget Submission: 2017

Tuition fees in Nova Scotia are the second highest in Canada, at $7,218 for the 2016-17 academic year, compared to a national average of $6,373.1 This figure marks a 5.6% increase since 2015-16, compared to 2.8% nationally, a rate 7 times that of inflation.

Pre-Budget Submission: 2016

High levels of student debt are an impediment to Nova Scotia’s economic growth. Re- lying on debt to finance educa- tion means the full impact of high tuition fees is delayed un- til after graduation, as indebted graduates have less available funds with which to begin their lives.

Pre-budget Submission: 2015

Improving access to post-secondary education must be at the forefront of encouraging our young people to stay and build a life in Nova Scotia. Over the past 25 years, Nova Scotia has consistently been the least accessible province in which to pursue a post- secondary education.

Pre-Budget Submission: 2014

Nova Scotia’s universities and community colleges (NSCC) play a vital role in the provincial economy. Every year they contribute $1.2 billion to provincial GDP, create both directly and indirectly 18500 jobs, and pay $220 million in taxes to the provincial government. But behind these impressive figures are a set of deep and growing problems, ones that can easily be solved if we opt to fund our universities and colleges, not just more generously, but more intelligently too.

Standing Resolutions

Constitution & Bylaws

Contact


chairperson@cfs-fcee.ca