Dear Dr. Burry,

Thank-you for your recent letter in response to our follow-up from our January 24th meeting.

However, we were both confused and disappointed when we received it. It was very clearly stated and agreed upon during our meeting that the word ‘graduate’ would be included in the new childcare subsidy policy. Both students and staff who were present at the meeting were shocked to see this promised change had not been made when we received your letter. The entire point of adding this word was to ensure that graduate students would not be rejected outright.

As much as we appreciate the steps being taken by the City of Ottawa to better communicate the erroneous information given to graduate students in the past six months, the wording of the policy continues separate graduate students from all other students, implying a difference in need or merit of this subsidy. From the communications that have taken place, we were informed that the new prioritization system would not be based on a students’ status as undergraduate or graduate, but rather their overall need compared to the pool of applicants.

One of the biggest problems that has arisen with these policy changes this year is that they have been poorly communicated, putting students and their families in precarious situations of stress and uncertainty. This newest letter did not address that problem but rather only added to the trend of the City of Ottawa’s inconsistent messaging around this issue.

We are surprised that, after agreeing to the above change, the Councillors present would allow for this commitment to be reversed; we will certainly be following up with them. In the meantime we urge you to uphold the commitment that was made in this meeting, and to include graduate students as part of the student community in the City of Ottawa.

Best Regards,

Anna Goldfinch
Vice President External
Graduate Students’ Association, Carleton University
613.520.2600 x8270

Taiva Tegler
External Commissioner
Graduate Students’ Association of the University of Ottawa
613.562.5800 x6671

André Loiselle
Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Post Doctoral Affairs
Carleton University
613.520.2600 x8083

Sean Maguire
Vice President External
Saint Paul University Students’ Association