ZACH AND JESS ** Broad comments: List-based slides are ineffective, as they deal with structure instead of content. Slides should emphasize want you want people to take away. Font size needs to be big, with little text. Let your words describe what is meant, not the slide. Rethink the flow of the slides. Why is “what is CASA” coming after “founding principles”? What’s the difference between a founding principle and a guiding principle? Focus on what councils will want to hear, and how much they want to hear about it. Would they care more about founding principles, or how that manifests in what we do today? (I highly suspect the latter.) I would personally erase about 97% of the notes you have written. Don’t read from scripts. You will come off as weak. Instead, write down about 3 points you want to touch on per slide. If at all possible, insert a video midway through to keep attention. Bring speakers with you.
JESS Mandate is listed in Article 3 of our constitution We represent our student associations to federal and inter-provincial levels of government and defend the interested of students identified by our members Wherever it is reasonable we work with other student organizations in Canada and internationally with the goal of strengthening the representation of our membership As an organization, we are a resource for our student associations to defend the interests and promote the issues (within the realm of PSE) of the student that they, in turn represent Policy focus – principles; accessibility, affordability, innovation & quality CASA works to increase communication and networks of information and resources among its members. We work together to best represent all students across Canada. Example: our members can use each other as additional resources – Dalhousie and Mount Royal may be drafting policy on the same topic and can share research as well as reach out to any other members who already have a similar policy CASA is funded solely by membership fees Reflects each associations ability to pay The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is an alliance of 25 student associations and student unions from across Canada. Through this network of college, technical institute and university student governments, CASA represents and defends the interests of approximately 300,000 post-secondary students to the federal government. Does CASA represent a specific ideology? CASA is a membership-driven, democratic organization. All members have an equal voice in setting the policies and direction of CASA. CASA’s policies are not ideologically-driven, but are developed by our members based on what they feel best represents the interests of students.
CASA does not believe post-secondary education to be an ideological or partisan issue. Canadians from across the political spectrum realize the benefits that a strong post-secondary education system provides our country. A well-educated society is a productive, healthy society that is strong economically, socially, and culturally. Canadians believe that all individuals should have the opportunity to further themselves without facing social, cultural, or economic barriers.
JESS * You should not have to stop to let people read during your presentation. Instead, print these out and hand them out, so people can read whenever. Principles are listed in Article 2 of our constitution Equality: All people should be treated equally within CASA and all full members, regardless of size, are entitled to one vote. One school, one vote. Explain how our fee structure compliments this – big schools only get one vote but they pay less that they would be assessed at. Bilingualism: Explain our passive bilingualism policy here Focus: Strong policy rooted in national PSE issues Flexibility: We are member driven and respect the autonomy of our schools. They are free to participate in CASA at a chosen level and we maintain our easy-in, easy-out policy Pragmatism: Our policy will be reasonable and progressive; we pride ourselves on providing solutions Integrity: We shall always operate in an ethical, unified, accountable and democratic manner
JESS CASA’s Founding Principles were laid out at the 1994 Winds of Change Conference: First, CASA would be a bottom-up, member-driven in that the members of the Alliance would set the organization’s policy agenda and define its goals. Second, CASA would focus on issues specific to post-secondary education, establishing a strong orientation toward policy development rather than social development. Key focuses would be accessibility, affordability, innovation and quality. Third, CASA would focus its attention on those challenges facing post-secondary education students within federal jurisdiction and interprovincial levels of government only. Provincial advocacy would be best left to member associations. In effect, CASA established principles and practices which would promote a strong, grassroots, and pragmatic alliance focused exclusively on the problems facing post-secondary education students in Canada CASA would also ensure that membership within the Alliance would not unfairly burden member associations. Joining or leaving the Alliance would be made easy through clear and flexible by-laws – easy in, easy out. Membership fees would be capped and kept to the lowest possible level. CASA committed to a one member, one vote policy, despite some in the student movement supporting voting based on student population. CASA committed to operating in both languages. CASA committed to operating in an ethical, unified, accountable and democratic manner. Many people believe CASA was formed as the antithesis to the CFS, this was not the case. CASA was formed because many in the student movement saw the need for a new organization to fight the upcoming attack on education spending. Many of CASA’s original members such as the U of C and McGill had never been members of the CFS. How does a school make the decision to join or leave CASA? CASA has always operated under the policy that it should be easy to both join and leave CASA. This means that each member follows their own legislative procedures to determine how they will enter and exit CASA. CASA does our best to operate in both official languages.
JESS CASA represents and defends the interests of approximately 315,000 post-secondary education students across Canada. CASA develops policy to reflect the priorities and concerns of its members and uses that policy to call for reform to a variety of federal government programs. It achieves this goal by engaging the government, public, and media in post-secondary issues and then advocating for change. Through constant dialogue with key decision makers, regular meetings with federal Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers and public servants, by presenting to relevant committee hearings, and by engaging both the public and the media, CASA advocates for change and brings attention to the issues students face.
ZACH CASA is funded solely by the fees it collects from its membership. CASA spends its money on member approved public awareness initiatives, our advocacy work, three member conferences per year and head office operations in Ottawa with six staff members. CASA is accountable to its members for every dollar that is spent, as the budget is passed by the membership and overseen by the Treasurer, who is elected from the membership each year. CASA spends its money prudently and seeks to cut costs by looking for the lowest cost alternative at every opportunity.
ZACH Post-secondary education is one of the most important social issues facing Canadian citizens today and it an essential building block for our country. CASA respects the diversity of viewpoints students hold on a wide variety of issues, and for this reason works solely to represent student governments on issues that have a direct impact on post-secondary education. This approach is well received by government and consequently CASA has a respected voice in representing and advocating on behalf of students. By concentrating our efforts only on post-secondary education, CASA makes both a more effective and efficient use of its resources.
ZACH The federal role in post-secondary education has been more constrained Education, in Canada, is a provincial jurisdiction. While that is fairly straightforward for K-12 education, such is not the case for PSE. The federal government is involved in post-secondary education in several ways.
Like healthcare and other provincial social programs, the government provides funding to the provinces, through transfer payments, for post-secondary education. Increases or decreases in government transfers have a very real effect on our colleges and universities, and, of course, on students. While the provinces hold legislative responsibility for tuition, one of the major drivers of the tuition increases students have faced over the last decade is cutbacks to federal PSE funding.
The federal government also provides support directly to students. According to the Canada Student Loan program, 42% of students in Canada receive public student loans. Outside of Quebec approximately 60% of a student’s loan is a federal Canada Student Loan. Federal student loan policies have a direct effect on students. Who can get a Canada student loan, and how much they are eligible for, is determined by the federal government. The federal government also provides support for students through various grant programs.
An area where the federal government has been extremely active over the past decade is research and innovation. Through various granting agencies the federal government provides funding directly to colleges and universities for research.
ZACH CASA advocates for its students on the national level. Traditionally this has meant that CASA lobbies the federal government on PSE issues relating to students. CASA often works at the inter-provincial level as well. CASA frequently meets with representatives of organizations like the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), a national grouping of Canada’s provincial education ministers. CASA believes that students and post-secondary education should be a national priority, and, as such, we believe the federal and provincial governments should work together to improve our system.
CASA does, sometimes, lobby at the provincial level as well. CASA members encourage their provincial governments to work collaboratively with other provinces and the federal government. As well, CASA partners with provincial lobbying groups on a regular basis (i.e. CAUS, ASEC, OUSA, NBSA, ANSSA, etc). CASA advocates for the creation of a Pan-Canadian Accord on Post-Secondary Education.
zach CASA advocates for a system of PSE that does not discriminate against any Canadian regardless of their socio-economic background. CASA represents all students; our policies and lobbying efforts reflect that. We are increasing our research and outreach capacities to better represent the voices of the students we work on behalf of.
ZACH CASA opposes tuition increases due to a lack of adequate, stable, and sustainable government funding. Moreover, we oppose tuition deregulation and differential tuition because we believe that these tuition models have negative impacts the affordability of post-secondary education. CASA also opposes the use of ancillary fees as a substitute for other sources of revenue at post-secondary education institutions.
CASA also believes student debt is too high. CASA has lobbied long and hard for improved debt reduction measures for students. We proposed the Repayment Assistance Plan that was implemented by the Government of Canada this year and caps the amount you have to pay on your debt. We’ve advocated for upfront grants for low-income students, which became the Canada Student Grant Program, and are currently advocating for grants for students with unmet financial need. We’ve also lobbied to increase funding for federal funding of post-secondary education through provincial transfers. Cuts to these transfer programs were primary causes of rising tuition and rising debt.
Jessica Over the past few years CASA has established a series of successful partnerships with the following seven student organizations. With its partners CASA represents 600,000 college and university students.
JESS ANSSA, NBSA, CSA, OUSA, ACTISEC, CAUS GSAC – started a working group for policy; exploring further options Issued a communiqué and held joint press conference for council of the federation meeting; extremely successful media day Currently drafting a letter with CAUT, CFHSS, AUCC, etc on points of agreement Past initiatives with the unofficial alliance of organizations: Letter to Territorial and Provincial Premiers and Prime Minister (2005); Charting the Course document (2006); Press Conference on Parliament Hill (2006); Letter in support of the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation (2006); ACTISEC/GSAC Partnerships Conference.
zach For an advocacy group in Ottawa, CASA has achieved remarkable success in its 15 years of work on behalf of Canada’s students. This document outlines our membership growth, our policy successes, and our recent government relations successes that are laying the groundwork for more opportunities in the next 15 years. An Organization with Momentum Since its inception in 2005, CASA has had rises and falls in its membership but there is a clear record of growth. Our “easy-in, easy-out” process where members can join or leave according to their own by-laws over two years has created a dynamic membership that requires CASA to constantly adjust and ensure that the student and the student association is being adequately served by the organization. Currently we have 24 member associations, with another 4 that observe our conferences and are in the process of reviewing our organization. But what do those student associations represent? CASA currently has almost the highest number of students at its member schools that it has ever had. Our student associations represent over 300,000 students, and through our partnerships with provincial student groups, we collectively represent over 600,000 students across Canada. The Best Investment a Student Association Can Make Between 1999 and now, Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa have implemented programs and spending lobbied for by CASA, causing over $13 billion to have flowed to students by the end of this fiscal year. List of CASA Successes: Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF) In 1998, CASA advocated for an increase to needs-based, non-repayable grants. As a result, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF), was changed from being 50/50 merit-based and needs-based, to 95% needs-based and only 5% merit-based. Each year, since 2000, the CMSF has delivered $320 million in non-repayable grants. Of that amount, $114 million has been as a result of CASA’s advocacy efforts. Scholarship Tax Credit The Scholarship Tax Credit which was first advocated by CASA in the 1998 Lobby Document has since given $307 million back to students. Of that amount, $235 million can be attributed to the recommendations made by CASA. Textbook Tax Credit A proposal for a Textbook Tax Credit was introduced in CASA’s 1997 Lobby Document. Since 2006, $406 million has been returned to Canadian students as a result of the Textbook Tax Credit. In keeping with CASA’s belief that the costs of education are not solely tuition based, this textbook tax credit has allowed financial relief to students struggling to pay for their education. Canada Education Savings Grant The Canada Education Savings Grant was first proposed in the 1997 CASA lobby document. For the past decade, the Canada Education Savings Grant has provided $56.4 million for students. Knowledge Infrastructure Program The Knowledge Infrastructure Program has openly acknowledged CASA’s influence in the creation and continued funding of the program. On the Knowledge Infrastructure Program’s website, the government says the program “responds to the needs of students as identified by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.” In 2005, CASA advocated for additional Accumulated Deferred Maintenance funding. The Paul Martin government responded with $1 billion being injected into ADM funding for 2006. In the 2009 Federal Budget an additional $2 billion was allocated over the course of the following two years (09/10). Repayment Assistance Plan CASA began advocating for interest relief and debt repayment assistance in the 1999 lobby document. Having identified repayment assistance as an area of high need, CASA worked to ensure that government would create the programs. The Repayment Assistance Plan (and its predecessor programs, Interest Relief and Debt-Reduction-in-Repayment) has provided $1,141,200,000 in financial assistance to those struggling to repay their student loans. As a result of the plan, those students who qualify for the program are able to avoid defaulting and bankruptcy, while continuing to contribute to Canada’s economy in a meaningful way. Now that the government has brought in the plan, CASA has been vigilant in advocating for a simple, online application process. The submission of the application form is still paper, however CASA will continue lobbying for a full online application. Canada Student Grants Since 1999, the federal government has delivered $1,665,400,000 in student grants, including Canada Study Grants, Canada Access Grants, and the new Canada Student Grants Program. CASA has been advocating for increased grants since 1998. In 2004, CASA continued to advocate for increased “Canada Access Grants” aimed at helping those who were most in need; and in 2007 advocated for a renewal of funding for the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation with a greater focus on income-based grants, which is the basis of the Canada Student Grants Program. Canada Social Transfer CASA has been advocating for a dedicated transfer for post-secondary education since the birth of the organization in 1995. In the 2007 Federal Budget, $800 million increase to the Canada Social Transfer was targeted towards post-secondary education. This additional funding was set to be delivered in 2009 and then increased to $897 million in 2010. The gradual recognition of the need for this funding and progress towards a dedicated transfer has been a huge win for CASA. Indirect Costs In the 2001 Pre-Budget Submission, CASA advocated for further investment toward indirect costs of research in order to strengthen Canada’s research capacity as part of its innovation agenda. Funding has totaled $2,395,300,000 for the three granting councils. Copyright Prior to last summer, only one post-secondary education stakeholder had ever been consulted on amending copyright legislature. Since last June, CASA has successfully lobbied the federal government to hold public consultations and we were invited by the Ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry to three roundtable meetings, one of the highest participation rates from any post-secondary education stakeholder. Further, at the request of both Ministers, CASA has submitted a formal written recommendation on copyright amendment. Creating Pan-Canadian Data Set Since November 2007, when CASA adopted a policy on creating a pan-Canadian data set – to date CASA is the only student lobby organization to do so – our organization has successfully lobbied the federal government to initiate a serious process aimed at creating a pan-Canadian data set. This process has included multiple consultations with CASA, and has incorporated many of CASA recommendations into their working plan.
jess Although we all have to chip in to make CASA work we also have a lot of fun…why? Because CASA works as a team. Throughout the year you are going to make amazing friends and have a network of support to draw upon in challenging and trying times…whether they are CASA related or not…(session leader – think of an example where you leaned on the peeps this year – tell that story). CASA is a membership driven organization. This means that our membership makes most decisions affecting the organization. All voting positions are held by members. The membership elects the National Director, who in turn is responsible for overseeing our head office staff in cooperation with the board.
Our membership shapes the policy and direction of the organization How does a school make the decision to join or leave CASA? CASA has always operated under the policy that it should be easy to both join and leave CASA. This means that each member follows their own legislative procedures to determine how they will enter and exit CASA.
The membership of CASA approves each new potential member school, in a resolution at a regular meeting, in order to ratify their status as full members.
A member may withdraw from CASA at any time provided they notify the Board in writing no later than 60 days in advance and follow the legislative procedure of their school. Members must hold two consecutive votes that are twelve (12) months apart from each other in order to fully terminate their membership with CASA.
Members are required to first hold a vote to revert from full-members to associate members. Members are asked to hold associate membership for a period of 12 months. These 12 months should be used to assess the merits of CASA and to receive formal responses from the Governance Officers on the grievances that a member may have with the organization. If members remain unhappy with the organization after reverting to associate members for 12 months, they are then required to hold one more vote to terminate their affiliation with CASA.
jess The Board ensures that the directives given by the membership are met in a timely and thorough fashion. They do this by overseeing the operations of Head Office in conjunction with the National Director and by working closely with the ND and the Staff. The Board is Head Office’s “ear on the ground.” They represent the views and concerns of the Members and bring these forward to the National Director and Head Office Staff. To provide transparency and accountability to the Membership For more detailed information on any leadership position, members can refer to the CASA Constitution & Bylaws and the ‘So You Want to be a Leader’ document which are both available in the transition binder.
zach GREEN: These priorities will be the focus of CASA’s government relations for the next year. BLUE: BLUE These priorities will become green priorities if an opportunity arises. PURPLE These priorities will be the focus of the Policy Committee from June-November YELLOW These priorities will be the focus of the Policy Committee from November-March.
zach Why CASA? Why is it important to lobby for post-secondary education? Post-secondary education is one of the most important social building blocks of our country. The social and economic welfare of Canada depends on an educated population. As student leaders we need to ensure that Canada’s post-secondary education system does not discriminate against anyone who is seeking a higher education, especially those who face cultural, social, and economic barriers to obtaining a post-secondary education. CASA believes that any academically qualified student with the desire to pursue post-secondary education should not face a barrier, financial or otherwise. What are the benefits of joining CASA instead of doing our own lobbying? No individual students&apos; union, no matter how big or active, has the resources or the political clout on their own to effectively influence the post-secondary education policies of governments. It is more cost effective for a large number of student associations to pool their resources and to work in partnership than for each to undertake this work on its own. Being able to pool financial resources with student associations across the country allows an association to get more return on fewer dollars. CASA members are also able to develop national policy that represents view points from students across Canada. And, of course, there is strength in numbers.
ZACH This is from the 2006 Department of Finance’s Economic Update – “Advantage Canada: Building a Strong Economy for Canadians” Canada’s New Government will further support improvements in the quality of education for Canadians and ensure that Canada remains the OECD leader in the proportion of the population with a university or college education by: • Strengthening the quality and competitiveness of the post-secondary education system by providing stable and predictable funding to provinces and territories. • Working with provinces and territories to develop shared objectives and targets, clarify roles and responsibilities and enhance public accountability. • Modernizing Canada’s system of student financial assistance to make it more effective. • Encouraging the best foreign students to attend Canadian colleges and universities by marketing the excellence of Canada’s post-secondary education system. The Standing Committee of Finance’s Final Report (it’s a multi-party Committee) has pretty much endorsed all of CASA’s recommendations that were brought before the Committee. CASA was directly cited by the committee four times in the report, more than any other post-secondary stakeholder. The UBC AMS was also cited, as were a number of our partners - OUSA three times, The CSA three times, and ANSSA twice. Here is the Committee’s Recommendations related to our priorities: (1) Accessibility, affordability, and quality of PSE for under-represented students The government should — with the aim of eliminating economic barriers to post-secondary education — provide direct funding assistance to postsecondary students through a comprehensive system of needs-based grants and loans. (2) Renewing Millennium Finally, the government should extend the mandate of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and expand the Canada Access Grants program to finance the cost of tuition for all years of undergraduate education. (3) Dedicated Transfer The Federal government, once a long-term strategy for federal support of post-secondary education and training has been concluded among the federal and provincial/territorial governments, divide the Canadian Social Transfer into a post-secondary education transfer and a social assistance and services transfer. (4) Pan-Canadian Accord Once the Canada Post-Secondary Education Transfer has been created, the government should introduce guidelines, principles, responsibilities and accountabilities with respect to post-secondary education.
Canadian Alliance of
CASA will achieve an accessible, affordable and
high quality post-secondary education system
whose students enjoy an excellent quality of life.
Through its member-driven structure and grass-
roots approach, CASA’s mission is to advocate
for students through policy development and
research, awareness campaigns, government
relations and partnerships with other
• Focus on the federal and interprovincial
levels of government
• Focus on federal jurisdiction and
interprovincial levels of government
• Easy in - easy out
• One member, one vote*
• Practice of democracy
What does CASA do?
• Develops policies
• Engages government,
public and media
• Advocates for change
• Constant dialogue with
• Regular meetings with
Members of Parliament
How CASA Spend$
(6 staff members)
•Approved public awareness
•Three conferences a year
The Federal Role in
• Provincial governments are granted
constitutional legislative control over
education - Sec. 93
The Federal Role in
• Transfer payments to provinces/territories: $3.4
• Student grants/loans/repayment aid: $12 billion
• Tax credits/savings programs: $2.935 billion
• Research funding/infrastructure: $3 billion
• Summer job funding: $107.5 million
• Intellectual property
• PSE research and analysis
• International access and mobility
How CASA Lobbies
• Increase access and
quality of PSE
• Lobbies for improved
debt reduction measures
• Advocates for upfront
grants for students
• Lobbies for increased
funding for PSE
When all these groups join together,
the network represents over 600,000
• CASA has played a leadership role in developing the
largest student partnership in Canada
• Partners with federal and provincial student lobby
organizations to represent over 600,000 students
• Network of Partners:
– Ontario Undergraduate Student Association
– College Student Alliance
– Alberta College and Technical Institute Students
– Council of Alberta University Students
– New Brunswick Student Alliance
– Alliance of Nova Scotia Students’ Associations
For every dollar that Canadian students have
paid their CASA member schools, they have
received an average of $2740.53
A Record of Success
•Creation of Canada Millennium Scholarship
•Scholarship Tax Credit
•Textbook Tax Credit
•Knowledge Infrastructure Program
•Repayment Assistance Plan
•Canada Student Grants
•Canadian Student Survey
Access to Government
• Regular access to Prime Ministers and
Prime Minister’s Office
• Premiers, leaders of each political party,
Finance ministers, HRSDC ministers,
Industry Canada ministers, Deputy
• One of CASA’s principle methods to
access decision-makers is through Lobby
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of Alberta
Saint Mary's University
St. Francis Xavier University
University of New Brunswick
University of New Brunswick
- Saint John
Mount Allison University
Université de Moncton
University of Western Ontario
University of Waterloo
Wilfrid Laurier University
Red River College
University of Lethbridge
Southern Alberta Institute of
Mount Royal University
University of the Fraser Valley
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
St. Thomas University
University of Prince Edward Island
University of Waterloo Graduate
25 Student Associations
a vote, move and second motions, sit
on the Board of Directors, permanent
member of the Policy Committee, can
be Chair of any committee, access
no vote, sit on committees, move and
second motions, draw on staff
observe CASA operations
CASA’s Member Philosophy
CASA is a member driven organization
Delegates (General Assembly)
Board of Directors
Home Office Staff
Board of Directors
5 Regional Directors
(including the Chair and Secretary)
CASA Home Office
Jessica Sé guin
Role of Home Office
• Conducting direct advocacy
• Cultivating political, media and stakeholder
• Performing regulatory and statutory analysis
• Primary and secondary research
• Providing member support for policy, media and
• Carrying out government/policy/media monitoring
• Membership experience
• Interest Rates
• Copyright (C-32 and Book Importation
• Needs based Grants (graduate and
• Parental income contributions
• FMNI access
• Federal-provincial transfers
Benefits to Your
• Help you effectively lobby the Federal
• Help student leaders access top decision
• Opportunity to influence a national agenda
• Value for your students dollars
• Access a network of student leaders across
Benefits to CASA
• A diversity of members strengthens your voice
• Increased resources
• Add to the growing momentum of the
• Capacity to conduct research
• Information gathering and sharing
• Satellite lobby - our field team