The CSI Board of Directors is here to support every student and is working hard to improve your student experience as a Conestoga College student. At CSI, students support students! Your CSI Board of Directors is elected by students to represent and advocate for all students at Conestoga. They are always looking for your feedback to make sure your voice is heard and to help them advocate for change at Conestoga College and every level of government!

Here are a few ways in which we can help!

Academic Appeals

Your CSI Board of Directors is able to walk you through the procedure of an academic appeal and they are also available to offer support by attending and taking notes at academic appeal meetings.
Need advice? email us!

CSI Legal Protection Program

The CSI Legal Protection Program provides access to a toll-free legal assistance helpline for any area of law, and legal representation for housing disputes, employment disputes, and disputes with an academic institution.
Learn more


The time is now. Let policy leaders hear your voice. Submit your story.

#CloseTheGaps: Share Your Story

#CloseTheGaps is a grassroots campaign by students, for students, seeking to highlight the myriad challenges faced during this unprecedented year across the country. Whether these difficulties are due to COVID-19-related gaps in support, or whether this unprecedented year has simply exacerbated existing gaps, we want to help tell your story and bring it to the attention of the people who can make a difference!

Learn more about how you can join the #CloseTheGaps campaign by sharing your story!

Share Your Story

Sana Banu, CSI President

Advocating for students is the CSI Board of Directors’ top priority! Want to learn more about your Board of Directors?

Meet Your Board of Directors

Timeframe: Priority:
October Mental Health in Pandemic Times
November Housing Insecurity
December
January Harassment Prevention
February Mental Health Campaign
March
April Food Insecurity

These priorities were selected by Conestoga students and will be addressed throughout the year by your CSI Board of Directors.

Want to get involved and advocate for students
OR
Want to share your feedback and concerns with us?

email us at: csibod@conestogac.on.ca

Conestoga Students Inc. has collected student feedback to better understand how students are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This feedback has been compiled into a document that outlines our findings and our responses to student needs.
CSI Financial Security Advocacy Report

Report Highlights

How are Conestoga students being impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Decline/loss of employment
  • Financial stress
  • Concern about job prospects
  • Reduced income
  • Limited/no resources to pay for tuition

What are our students saying?

Top 5 requests:

  • Reduction of Tuition
  • Financial Aid
  • Jobs
  • Tuition Extensions
  • Money

What have we done?

Conestoga Students Inc redistributed approximately $790,654.50 back to students through COVID-19 relief initiatives.

Our Advocacy wins:

  1. Reduced fall and winter CSI fees
  2. Reopened the CSI Food Bank for healthy hamper distribution
  3. Created new part time jobs for students within CSI
  4. Create a work to study program with Conestoga College
  5. Advocate for fee deadlines to be extended
  6. Create a needs-based emergency education relief fund
  7. Advocate for larger College Fee reductions

  • Letter to MPs and MPPs

    Get involved and advocate for better supports for students with us!

    The provincial and federal governments have focused on helping people during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many students feel left behind. We have heard from many students about their experiences and the additional challenges the pandemic has created.

    We need to share these experiences with the government to demonstrate the need for additional support for students.

    How can you get involved and advocate for additional support for students?
    Your CSI Board of Directors has created a letter based on your feedback to send to the MP’s and MPP’s responsible for assisting students.

    Find Out More Here

  • Local Advocacy Initiatives

    CSI ensures that Conestoga students have a positive and enriched experience that allows their voice to be heard loud and clear. We address all student concerns and aim to find solutions that satisfies students. This includes academic appeals, legal consultation, fee concerns, etc.

    Have a concern? Email us!

    csibod@conestogac.on.ca

  • Survey for Conestoga students and their learning experience through COVID-19

    Your CSI Board of Directors collected feedback from all students during the pandemic to learn about your concerns and better represent you. Continue to help us understand your needs and tell us how the pandemic is still affecting you!
    Check out the survey results

  • Meeting with MPP Chris Glover, and the petition to increase support from the provincial government

    Our Vice President External shared student concerns with MPP Chris Glover and discussed the issue of returning to school during a pandemic. From this meeting, the panel created a petition to demand increased support from the provincial government.
    Get involved by signing the petition.

meetings

  • Meeting with MP Bardish Chagger

    The executive team had a virtual meeting with the member of parliament for Waterloo, Bardish Chagger. They discussed student housing, financial insecurity due to the pandemic, post-grad jobs and international students.

  • Meeting with MPP Catherine Fife

    Your president, Sana Banu and Vice president shared the concerns of post-secondary students with MPP Catherine Fife. MPP Fife took the feedback and shared it with the members of the provincial parliament at Queens park. Click on the link to see student feedback being shared.

    Student Feedback

  • Meeting with MP Brian May

    For mental health, quality of education and financial aid for students in the pandemic times.

  • Meeting with MP Marwan Tabbara

    MP Marwan Tabbara represents the Kitchener south-Hespeler constituency and your exec team got the opportunity to discuss how student voices can be heard louder by the government and had fruitful conversations about the concerts and relief that international students need.

  • Meeting with MPP Bouma Will

    Virtual meeting with MPP Bouma Will (Brantford-Brant constituency) to talk about how the provincial government develops policies to help students in these unprecedented times and as well provide students with relief and benefits to successfully complete their term as a student.

Response from MPs/MPPs and Ministry of Colleges and universities

Your student association reached out to the Ministry of colleges and universities to express the concerns regarding student experience in these pandemic times and suggested some ways to support post-secondary students. The accountability branch for post-secondary education got back with the following reply:

“Protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians is the government’s priority. Ontario has taken decisive action to contain the spread of this new virus. Ontario’s publicly assisted universities and colleges are autonomous institutions and are responsible for developing policies and procedures to govern their institutions, including program delivery and specific support for students. I trust the information below will help to address your specific concerns.

Online Learning:

The government is committed to ensuring students have access to the support needed to pursue high-quality postsecondary education. In order to deliver online courses to all students, major adjustments had to be made to online platforms at our postsecondary institutions. System adaptations, the development and delivery of online courses and other service modifications have been costly for institutions.

Ontario’s postsecondary institutions are autonomous, with authority over their own academic practices, including mode of delivery and choice of educational technologies. It is the responsibility of the individual institution to develop high-quality online programs for their students. However, ministry-funded digital learning organizations Contact North | Contact Nord and eCampusOntario are providing support to institutions and students, including best practices and supports for the rapid conversion of programming for online delivery and Open Library educational resources.

The ministry will be engaging in stakeholder consultations this summer to support the modernization of the postsecondary education system. Feedback from the summer consultations will be used to inform a digital learning strategy for postsecondary education for Ontario. The strategy will ensure the postsecondary system is better positioned to weather future disruptions and support learning continuity.

Finally, institutions are currently working with public health officials to develop plans for the safe return to in-person learning in the fall, exploring options that range from online, in-person and hybrid delivery models. To review Conestoga College’s plan, I encourage you to consult Conestoga’s COVID-19 website.

To discuss specific concerns with respect to the Embedded Systems Development program, you may wish to reach out to Tony Thoma, Executive Dean of Engineering, Technology and Trades, at tthoma@conestogac.on.ca.

Affordability and Tuition Fees:

The government is committed to ensuring students have access to the support needed to pursue high-quality postsecondary education. The government introduced a 10 per cent reduction in college and university tuition fees in 2019-20. And in 2020-21, tuition rates will be frozen at the 2019-20 levels.

Ontario universities and colleges are autonomous institutions and are responsible for developing policies and procedures to govern their institutions, including policies related to student financial relief, housing, tuition, scholarship programs, curriculum and program development. To support their efforts during this unprecedented time, the government provided $25 million in emergency funding to allow institutions to address immediate priorities. Many institutions also have relief funds to support their students as needed.

Ontario’s government is also easing the financial burden on domestic students by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to postsecondary institutions. Specifically, Ontario is helping OSAP borrowers by temporarily suspending student loan payments and initiating a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans.

I also encourage you to explore the eligibility criteria for the following financial supports introduced by the Federal Government:

  • Any domestic or international student who meets the eligibility criteria laid out for either the Employment Insurance (EI) or the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program will qualify to receive these financial supports. More information is available at the following federal government website:
    Canada Economic Response Plan
  • Canadian Emergency Student Benefit, a $9 billion investment to assist postsecondary students facing economic challenges due to COVID-19. More information can be found here: Support for Students and Recent Graduates

Mental Health:

I can appreciate that this is an immensely stressful and unpredictable time for students. Student mental health is a key priority for the ministry. I encourage you to reach out to the many resources available to students, including Kids Help Phone’s postsecondary mental health helpline, Good2Talk/ Allo j’écoute, available to all Ontario students 24/7/365 in both French and English via text and phone.

All colleges and universities also have on-campus and/ or virtual mental health resources available. As a Conestoga College student, You will find helpful information at the following website:
Mental Health Support

International Students:

The ministry will continue to work with its federal government partners at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to understand the impact of the pandemic on international students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions. Recent supports introduced by the federal government include:

  • IRCC is temporarily lifting the maximum 20-hour per week restriction for off-campus work so that international students may continue working, provided that it is in an essential service or function.
  • International students who meet the eligibility criteria laid out for either EI or CERB may qualify to receive these financial supports as noted above. International students who are currently in Canada, who have worked the minimum number of hours and who meet the minimum income threshold can apply.

For more information about the impact of COVID-19, please see IRCC’s website:
IRCC’s Website

For specific supports available at Conestoga College, you may also wish to contact the International Support Services for further guidance and assistance, at internationaltransition@conestogac.on.ca.”

We are in constant conversation with MTCU to make sure we support students.

Response from the MP/Ps meetings:

Over the last few months, your executive team has had virtual meetings with many MP/Ps to discuss the student concerns and how we can support students better. Here is a summary of some of the responses we got back from the ministers:

Most ministers acknowledged the difficult times students are going through and how this group of the population needs support. They shared their sentiments about the student experience and how post-secondary students are an essential part of the country’s future. They shared some resources and information which we can provide to our students.

We recommended some supports that will help students and make sure this group is represented during the pandemic. We suggested policy analysts to consider creating standardizations across the post-secondary sector for quality of online education, mental health resources and tuition caps. We advocated for a reduction in tuition fees for domestic and international students and not charge any ancillary fees until those services are open to the students.

In response to these proposals, the ministers took these into consideration, while making some adjustments according to the government policies and budgets. They represent these concerns in the provincial and federal assemblies.