Since its creation, the Quebec Student Union has been pushing the provincial and federal governments to take into account and address the issues and obstacles of the Quebec student population through the changing context over time. The QSU represents the student population in Quebec through its achievements, political representation, reports, opinions and campaigns.

80 million campaign

Student Financial Assistance (SFA)

Thanks to the efforts of the Quebec Student Union and its partners, in 2016, an $80 million reinvestment was made directly into Quebec's Student Financial Assistance (SFA) program. That's $80 million more in the pockets of students. This was the largest reinvestment in the SFA program in 15 years. The program was targeted directly at Quebec's neediest students. 

Among other things, this investment made it possible to make up for the delay in indexing the amounts paid to students, which had not kept pace with the cost of living. 

These amounts can be divided into four specific measures:  
- Enhanced living expenses of $65.4 million, which equates to an average of $462 per year of additional assistance for all recipients. 
- Enhanced single parent costs of $11.2 million, averaging $994 per year for families. 
- The eligibility threshold for a loan for part-time students was increased to $50,000. 
- Finally, an additional $200,000 was invested to improve airfare for students living in remote areas without road access.

Where is our money?

Student Financial Assistance (SFA)

In 2016, the federal government announced the elimination of two tax credits, for education and textbooks. At the same time, it committed to gradually invest the money saved in the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (CSFA Program), up to a total investment of $649M per year. Since Quebec does not participate in the CSFA Program and has its own program, the province receives an offset transfer each year. The QSU and the FECQ estimated that $197M from the transfers was not being invested in the Quebec SFA program. The two associations launched the "Where's Our Money" campaign to demand that this money be returned to students.

As a result of this campaign, the government increased student financial assistance by $100 million on an ongoing basis

COVID-19 bonus

As a result of the "Where's Our Money" campaign and QSU's requests to address the effects of the pandemic, Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann invested $200M in SFA for the 2020-2021 year. 

On July 12, 2021, following requests from the QSU and the FECQ, the Minister of Higher Education announced an investment of $328M in student financial assistance for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 award years. This amount increases the allowable expenses, and is equivalent to $96/month for students living with their parents or a guardian, and $205/month for others. 

Quebec-wide Study on Mental Health

The "Behind the mask" study was conducted in the fall of 2018 at 14 academic institutions and included 21 student organizations from across Quebec. At this point, it is the largest survey ever conducted by the student movement. 
The results of this survey helped to secure a student mental health action plan from the government along with nearly $60 million in funding. 

Protecting the Rights of Students with a Major Functional Disability

In summer 2018, the Ministry of Higher Education quietly modified one of the eligibility criteria to access Student Financial Assistant (SFA) for students with a major functional disability. This change, made without notice, would force students to have their ability to repay a loan assessed by a doctor to receive financial aid. The QSU immediately spoke out against this new condition. The Ministry’s intention had been to reduce the amount of financial support it would provide to students with serious disabilities, which is completely unacceptable. After a few meetings between the QSU and the Ministry, the government backed down.

Fight Against Sexual Violence

From its very first year of existence, the Quebec Student Union (QSU) began working on concrete ways to fight against sexual violence in universities. In collaboration with several partners in civil-society, the QSU fought for new legislation and funding to support new measures on campuses across Quebec. The QSU brought all of its means to bear, so as not to leave anything to chance: briefs and demands during public consultations, meetings with elected officials, press releases, and audiences at parliamentary commissions.

As a result: new policies, developed in consultation with student associations, and new services will come into effect in the fall of 2019. Naturally, this is only a first step in the right direction. The QSU will continue to fight to ensure that services are always sufficient, by systematically putting survivors at the heart of its concerns. For more information, consult our briefs.

Legal protection for interns


In the winter of 2022, the National Assembly passed the law to ensure the protection of interns in the workplace. The adoption of such a law was a demand of the FECQ and QSU dating back to the 2018 Interns on Sale campaign. Thanks to the Act to ensure the protection of interns in the workplace, Quebec's 195,000 interns now have access to legal protections and recourse in the event of psychological harassment, in addition to having access to short and long leaves, as provided for in the Act respecting labour standards.

Financial compensation for interns


On June 18, 2019, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Jean-François Roberge, announced the implementation of measures to financially compensate Quebec interns. This measure followed the student mobilization. A total of $30 million in recurring funding has been invested in a new program of support grants for interns in certain training programs in the fields of education, health and social services. As of fall 2019, four times as many students will receive financial compensation with the creation of this program!

Support for the CRAIES and Compensation for the Final Internship in Education


In December 2016, student associations participating in the CRAIES campaign for improvements to internships in education allied with the QSU, through one of its specific working committees, to work towards a financial compensation of the final internship in education programs. Together, the QSU and CRAIES organized collective actions to lobby and directly pressure the government, culminating in the creation of a $3,900 bursary for students completing their internship.

#FairShare Campaign and Funding for Student Research

From 2011 to 2014, the Government of Canada cut its funding for all three Federal Granting Agencies (FGA). At their highest point, these cuts represented a $32 million reduction in their combined budgets. Even after 2014, the government’s investments in student grants were minimal. This is why our top demand during Advocacy Week in Ottawa (organized with our federal partner, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) was for increased funding dedicated to student research grants for all three granting agencies. Over the course of that week, we secured commitments from several ministers and MPs on this demand. As a result, we launched the #FairShare campaign in January 2019 as a positive campaign to remind these elected officials of the promises they had made. And it succeeded! In January 2019, the government chose to invest $114 million in federal granting agencies over five years and $26.5 million a year afterwards. In real terms, this represents 500 new grants for master’s students and 167 new grants for doctoral students awarded to support student research every year.

Support for FIDEP and Compensation for the Internat in Psychology

A specific working committee was created in 2016 to support the Inter-University Federation of Doctoral Students in Psychology (FIDEP) and its demand that doctoral students be financially compensated for their final, mandatory internship. The government eventually agreed to provide students with a $25,000 bursary for internships that take place in the public, para public, or community sectors.

Banning the Sale of Bottled Water on University Campuses

In response to an initiative by its member associations, the QSU coordinated a campaign to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on university campuses. The campaign provided local associations with the tools they needed to advance the demand with their school’s administration. Inspired by leaders in this fight, like Université de Sherbrooke, the campaign succeeded in raising awareness and pressuring certain universities to take action, such as McGill University, which removed single-use water bottles in spring 2018.
Designed and Developed by Squalls
En UEQ uses cookies to analyze traffic on this site. By continuing to use the service, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Privacy Policy