May Communique

Hello & Happy May! --

May is a signifying month here at OUSA, full of transition and new beginnings. We welcomed a new Steering Committee and elected our executives as well. Congratulations to President Julia Pereira, , VP Finance Mackenzy Metcalfe, and VP Administration and Human Resources Alexa Leitch. Our new board got to know each other better at our (virtual) Welcome Conference this month, and we can’t wait to start creating priorities for the year ahead. Look forward to their introduction blogs coming soon! 

OUSA’s home office also welcomed a new Summer Research Intern, Zamir Fakirani. Zamir comes to us from Western University, where he is entering his 4th year studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Refugee and Migrant Studies. He is also currently serving as the President of Western’s Social Science Students’ Council. To read more about Zamir, see his introduction blog here

Following our virtual Plenary held in March, OUSA was proud to release the following policy papers: Rural & Northern Students, International Students & International Education, and Gender-Based & Sexual Violence Prevention & Response


"It feels a little surreal to be writing my final OUSA Presidential Update. When I started out in student government - about four years ago now - I could not have expected the places it would take me (quite literally - as a proud Newfoundlander, I feel grateful to have seen so many parts of Ontario over the past few years); the opportunities and growth it would offer, and the challenges the years would present.

Read Cat's May Presidential Update here>>>

The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit opened on May 15th. This is an income supplement provided by the Federal government for post secondary students and recent grads during the pandemic. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website to apply. 

For updates regarding post secondary education and COVID-19, visit This page includes links to FAQ pages on CERB & CESB written by Nathan Barnett, VP of University Affairs at Trent Durham Student Association.

OUSA’s Welcome Conference was held virtually this year. Home Office was excited to meet and learn more about our new Steering Committee, and the conference included an introduction to OUSA, a session on our policy library and research projects, and media and government relations training.. We’re looking forward to our Strategy Conference in June, where we wil lset our priorities for the year and provide more training for our Steering Committee. Check out our social media posts on Welcome Conference here and here.

OUSA releases policy paper titled "Rural & Northern Students
This paper identifies a number of concerns that rural and northern students face when attempting to access post-secondary education, persist and feel supported throughout their post-secondary careers, and transition into the workforce. Read the full press release. 

OUSA releases policy paper titled "International Students & International Education"
Students are concerned about several issues affecting international students, including unregulated tuition, lack of financial aid, inflexible study permits, restricted access to labour markets and work-integrated learning, limited health coverage and mental health support, and unethical recruitment practices. Read the full press release.

OUSA releases policy paper titled "Gender-Based Sexual Violence Prevention & Response"
The paper identifies a number of precipitating and systemic factors that allow gender-based violence to persist to such a high degree at the post-secondary level, and that prevent students from accessing necessary supports following experiences of gender-based violence. Read the full press release

OUSA’s Submission to the
Ontario Jobs & Recovery Committee: MCU Advisory Council
On May 5th, OUSA was invited to participate in the Ontario Jobs & Recovery Committee: MCU Advisory Council Consultations. COVID-19 has had a profound impact on students attending or preparing to attend a post-secondary institution in Ontario. Over the past two months, students have done their best to complete their academic year through distance learning, all while struggling to secure summer employment and plan for their future. This submission outlines measures the government can take to support students effectively as we respond to COVID-19. Read it here


What COVID-19 Taught Me About Our Post-Secondary Institutions and Students

“I worry about the potential for our academic institutions to inadvertently assess students on the basis of their privilege, rather than intellect and merit. To avoid this, students must continue to be provided with the support they need to level the playing field and maintain access to equal opportunities for academic success.” - Zamir, Summer Research Intern. Read the full blog here. 

A Coordinated Approach to Prevent E-Cigarette Use Among Post-Secondary Students

“Currently, we don’t have a clear picture of the short- and long-term effects of e-cigarettes, though some users have developed serious lung conditions and a few deaths have been linked to these products. Because we have not yet learned exactly what the health effects are, and what conditions students are exposing themselves to by using these products, there needs to be greater educational and regulatory efforts to dissuade recreational use” - Mohad Nasir. To continue reading click here.