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Mon October 19

Multiple roles now available with the CSU

2020-10-26T10:43:59-07:00October 19th, 2020|Blog|

CSU Board of Directors

Interim Global & Community Studies Representative

Our interim global & community studies representative attends meetings of the Capilano Students’ Union board of directors (usually bi-weekly on Fridays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm) as a non-voting member as well as assigned committees as a voting member. They contributes to discussions and decisions with other student leaders and bring the perspective of a student in the Faculty of Global and Community Studies — including the unique needs and experiences of students in the Faculty of Global and Community Studies — to the work that the Capilano Students’ Union does. The role continues until a global & community studies representative is elected in the CSU general election in the spring, or May 31, 2021. Compensation: $330.25 per month. Application deadline is Friday, October 30, 2020.

Interim Indigenous Students Liaison

Our interim Indigenous students liaison attends meetings of the Capilano Students’ Union board of directors (usually bi-weekly on Fridays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm) as a non-voting member as well as assigned committees as a voting member. They contribute to discussions and decisions with other student leaders and to bring the perspective of an Indigenous student — including the unique needs, barriers, and experiences of being an Indigenous student — to the work that the Capilano Students’ Union does. The role continues until an Indigenous students liaison is elected in the CSU general election in the spring, or May 31, 2021. Compensation: $330.25 per month. Application deadline is Friday, October 30, 2020.

CSU Staff

Communications Assistant

Our communications assistant is responsible for assisting the director, communications in the execution of the organization’s communications strategy. A complete job description can be found on the application pageCompensation: $18.03 per hour (plus 16% in lieu of benefits) for 15 hours per week. Apply online.

Frontline Operations Assistant

Based in the CSU Members Centre, our frontline operations assistant is responsible for assisting the director, student spaces with the day-to-day operations of the CSU Members Centre. A complete job description can be found on the application pageCompensation: $18.03 per hour (plus 16% in lieu of benefits) for 15 hours per week. Apply online.

Research Assistant

Our research assistant is responsible for assisting in the preparation of research to support the resource staff in the preparation of resources, background, and policy advice for our student leadership. A complete job description can be found on the application pageCompensation: $18.03 per hour (plus 16% in lieu of benefits) for 15 hours per week. Apply online.

Mon October 19

Call for presenters extended for Catalyst: From Agitation to Action equity conference

2020-10-19T10:24:50-07:00October 19th, 2020|Blog|

In light of ongoing events, we have decided to extend the deadline on our call for presenters at Catalyst: From Agitation to Action. This means that you now have until October 30 to submit your application to present

What are we looking for? 

We are looking for members of the CapU community to present their experience with equity at Capilano during a special storytelling session at Catalyst. Your presentation can be live or pre-recorded; you can present as yourself or completely anonymously; you could tell a story, paint a picture, perform a dance or other original work, you could play a song that speaks to you… The most important factors are: 

  • that your presentation is able to be streamed online (via Zoom);
  • that your presentation does not exceed 15 minutes; and
  • that you are comfortable sharing your experience.

If you’re interested, then we want to hear from you! Please complete this form to apply by October 30, 2020. Please note: Limited space is available. Selected presenters will receive an honorarium of $75. All applicants will be contacted by November 2, 2020. Successful applicants will need to submit their pre-recorded presentation or preview their live presentation for organizers by November 10, 2020.

About Catalyst: From Agitation to Action

At Catalyst, you will have the opportunity to engage with other members of the CapU community about Capilano’s history and future when it comes to justice, equity, and anti-racism work. Our goal is to facilitate a unique experience to authentically look at equity on campus as it has been while also building a forum to work on equity at Capilano as it should be. In other words, Catalyst will offer the chance to express agitation and to commit to action as we work towards an even better community. 

This will not be some stuffy, traditional conference. Catalyst promises to facilitate informational presentations, experiential performances, guided discussions, artistic expressions, and many opportunities to open your heart and your mind. 

Best of all, Capilano University students are invited to attend Catalyst for free. In fact, this conference will present you with a number of opportunities to express yourself, volunteer, and even win some prizes! 

Thu October 1

CSU announces Catalyst: From Agitation to Action equity conference

2020-10-01T16:15:21-07:00October 1st, 2020|Blog|

We are excited to announce that the Capilano Students’ Union will be hosting a virtual equity conference called Catalyst: From Agitation to Action from November 16 to 20 (evenings).

About Catalyst: From Agitation to Action

At Catalyst, you will have the opportunity to engage with other members of the CapU community about Capilano’s history and future when it comes to justice, equity, and anti-racism work. Our goal is to facilitate a unique experience to authentically look at equity on campus as it has been while also building a forum to work on equity at Capilano as it should be. In other words, Catalyst will offer the chance to express agitation and to commit to action as we work towards an even better community. 

This will not be some stuffy, traditional conference. Catalyst promises to facilitate informational presentations, experiential performances, guided discussions, artistic expressions, and many opportunities to open your heart and your mind. 

Best of all, Capilano University students are invited to attend Catalyst for free. In fact, this conference will present you with a number of opportunities to express yourself, volunteer, and even win some prizes! 

Call for Participation 

In order to explore real experiences at CapU we are putting out a call to participate in Catalyst: From Agitation to Action. We are looking for students, faculty members, staff members, or administrators to present their equity-related experiences. 

Your presentation could take the form of a story, a performance, a work of visual art, curation of an original work — essentially anything, so long as it can play on Zoom and does not run longer than 15 minutes. Presenters are welcome to express themselves live or submit a pre-recorded presentation. Likewise, it is up to presenters whether they wish to participate anonymously or not. 

If you’re interested, then we want to hear from you! Please complete this form to apply by October 23, 2020. Please note: Limited space is available; selected presenters will receive an honorarium. Applicants will be contacted by November 2, 2020. Successful applicants will need to submit their pre-recorded presentation or preview their live presentation or organizers by November 10, 2020.

Check the CSU website and CSU social media pages for more information, including calls for participation, events, programming, and registration.

Thu September 17

Orange Shirt Day 2020

2020-09-21T11:55:45-07:00September 17th, 2020|Blog|

A member of the Capilano community wears an orange shirt to mark Orange Shirt Day in 2019 (photo: Tae Hoon Kim/Capilano University)

In the days leading up to September 30, the Capilano Students’ Union has changed the colour of our web presence to help spread awareness about Orange Shirt Day.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

In 1973, Phyllis Webstad’s grandmother gave her a new orange shirt to wear to her first day of school.

Phyllis, aged six at the time, felt excited to dress up and wore her new orange shirt with pride. Unfortunately, that first day of school was at St. Joseph Mission, a residential school for Indigenous children. Upon arrival, Phyllis’ beloved new shirt was taken away and she was forced to remain at the school for 300 more days.

Inspired by Phyllis’ story, survivors of the residential school system are honoured and remembered by those observing Orange Shirt Day, which takes place every September 30. You can honour Orange Shirt Day by taking the first steps towards reconciliation by making yourself aware of the history of the residential school system.

Resources

Take some time to review the resources below and share with family and friends.

Phyllis Webstad’s story
Phyllis shares the story of Orange Shirt Day in her own words.

Residential School History
This page includes a review of the history of residential schools as well as Orange Shirt Day.

Eddy Charlie’s story
Orange Shirt Day Victoria organizer and residential school survivor Eddy Charlie shares his experience.

Wed September 9

CSU President’s Address 2020/21

2020-09-10T16:12:46-07:00September 9th, 2020|Blog|

FULL TEXT OF PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

Here we are, a new academic year at Capilano University begins, a year unlike any other. While I wanted to come to all of you and talk about how great this year will be — and it will be good in its own way — I can’t honestly look forward to the year to come without reflecting on where we were at this time last year, the events of the past several months, and the current state of our global community.

We are collectively mourning, still, for losses we can name and identify as well as others we can’t. While Black and Indigenous communities in Canada are grieving from a centuries-long legacy of colonial and racist violence that is now thrust into mainstream public discourse, a global health emergency continues to underpin every aspect of our lives. While the events of the past several months have affected each of us differently depending on our identity, employment status, immigration status, and personal health, we have all experienced loss.

What a background upon which to return to school, which is why I want to recognize each and every one of you for having the courage, the tenacity, and the resilience to choose to pursue your post-secondary education right now — whether you’re coming back to Cap or taking classes for the first time. For those of you who may not have a choice, and are continuing your education out of necessity — I see you too.

More than ever we need to lean on one another for support, think collectively, and re-imagine what it means to connect as a community. This has been top of mind at the Capilano Students’ Union, and we’ve been working all summer to ensure that our community has access to the services they need to be successful this year. And when I say “success”, I mean whatever that looks like for you, because as much as we are called to reach out and support one another this year, we must also turn inwards, practice self-compassion, and be gentle with ourselves.

The Capilano Students’ Union remains committed to enhancing the student experience of those studying at CapU. We’ve worked hard to adapt our programs and services to be delivered online and remotely, including the Device Doctor personal electronics repair service, Community Cupboard food bank, and the newly launched csubookmarket.ca. As the voice of students on the North Shore, we continue to meet university administration as well as representatives from the local, provincial, and federal levels of government in order to make sure our members’ perspectives are heard. 

I’m not going to sugar-coat this for you, it’s going to be a challenging year. University is no walk in the park, and when our global community is shifting at an increasingly rapid pace around us, there are plenty of opportunities to be pulled away from our studies. Despite this, we have the incredible privilege of pursuing higher education and now is the time to use our knowledge, community connections, and experiences to create the world we want to live in — and leave a legacy that will empower our descendants and communities to thrive for generations to come.

In a time of unprecedented challenge, we must practice unprecedented kindness, unprecedented compassion, and unprecedented love, and we have to do it together. I know that no matter where we are in the world, the students of Capilano University, with the support of their student union, are capable of all that and whatever else this year has in store for us.

So, welcome to the 2020/2021 academic year.

Tue September 8

BC Students Asking for an Extension of Rental Supplement and Eviction Ban

2020-09-11T15:29:30-07:00September 8th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

Dear Premier Horgan, Minister James, and Minister Robinson,

In March, students celebrated the Province’s response to our joint letter asking for an immediate moratorium on evictions and rent increases in BC. We were grateful to see the Province take action and follow through with these protections for renters. This policy, along with the BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program, has provided countless students with relief and support through the end of the spring semester and into the summer. The security of knowing that they will not be evicted and forced into houselessness during a global public health emergency is crucial to a student’s livelihood.

It is for this critical reason that we were concerned to hear about the BC government’s plan to lift the moratorium on evictions on September 1, 2020. With many students still out of work and facing tuition fee payment deadlines and textbook purchases, the threat of being evicted is not only detrimental to a student’s academic success, but could severely impact all aspects of their life including their mental and physical health. The absolute necessity of housing security, let alone during a global pandemic, cannot be stressed enough.

Though our province has made significant steps towards a full reopening and recovery of the economy, the global health crisis is far from over. The economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 public health emergency are far-reaching and will be felt by the most vulnerable groups in our province for years to come. Among the most financially vulnerable are post-secondary students.

The housing crisis in BC has been affecting students for decades, growing more severe each year as rental housing supply diminishes and prices skyrocket. The days of expecting to pay only 30% of your income on rent are long gone. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, 49% of renters in BC aged 15 to 29 spend over 30% of their income on rent while 28% of renters in the same age group spend over half their income on rent.1 10% of renters aged 15 to 29 live in overcrowded conditions.2 This is not new; the difference now is that we are facing an unprecedented global pandemic, the effects of which are unexpected significant losses of income and resources for so many students.

Loss of income due to COVID-19 has disproportionately affected students and young people.3 Many students rely on full-time summer employment to get them through the next school year. This summer, the BC Labour Force Survey collected data on labour market outcomes for post-secondary students who were attending school full-time in March and intend to return to school full-time in September.4 In May of this year, they found that the unemployment rate for older students in BC (aged 20 to 24) returning to school in the fall was nearly 44% — a 33% increase from the previous year.5 The national unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 also rose to a record high in May, reaching over 29%.6 In a study produced this month, Statistics Canada reported that if the annual youth unemployment rate reaches as high as 28%, recent graduates could see income losses of $23,000 to $44,000 over the next five years.7

We recognize that this is not a one-sided issue. Landlords often rely on tenants’ monthly rent payments to subsidize their mortgage payments and other expenses. However, the narrative often portrayed in public discourse — that of multitudes of struggling landlords across the province — paints a false picture of tenant-landlord dynamics. The homeowner renting out their basement suite and struggling to pay their bills is not your typical landlord. 

In an online survey conducted by McAllister Research in May 2020, only a minority of renters (22%) said they pay their rent to “a homeowner who lives in the same building,” with the remaining respondents paying corporate or other investor landlords.8 In the public debate surrounding rent forgiveness, many argue that landlords will suffer more if renters do not pay their rent. This is rarely the case, as the majority of “landlords” are not living paycheque to paycheque, and instead are profiting exponentially off of desperate people in need of a place to live.

Struggling with basic expenses is not a new problem for students. With monthly rent and utilities, high tuition costs (which are 4.5 times higher for international students than domestic students and can increase at any rate for international students),9 overpriced textbooks, transportation costs, and other expenses, students are left with limited funds to purchase basic necessities such as groceries. 

A recent annual survey conducted by the Capilano Students’ Union at Capilano University found that over 47% of student respondents felt worried at least a few times over the course of a semester that they would run out of food before they had money to buy groceries.10 Nine percent of student respondents said they worried about this once a month, over 11% said they worried twice a month, and 8% of all student respondents said they worry about running out of food on a weekly basis.11 

These challenges may seem insignificant to some, but for a student struggling to get through their degree or a recent graduate whose job prospects have vanished, these setbacks can be devastating. Students should not have to add an eviction to their ever-growing list of setbacks. The Province has the opportunity to recognize a vulnerable group in need of support, and step in to provide that help. Extending the eviction moratorium and continuing the BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program will give students a fighting chance, and provide security with the most essential support they need to thrive — a home.

We call on the Province of British Columbia to extend the eviction moratorium and continue the BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program for as long as the province is in a state of emergency, and to continue to support vulnerable renters for at least three months after.

Yours sincerely, 

Alliance of BC Students
Camosun College Student Society
Capilano Students’ Union
Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver
Langara Students’ Association
Northern British Columbia Graduate Students’ Society
Simon Fraser Student Society
University of Victoria Graduate Student Society

Mon August 24

U-Pass BC program update

2020-08-25T17:30:19-07:00August 24th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

compass card held in front of a bus

The U-Pass BC program provides Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) members (Capilano University students) with unlimited access to transit in the Metro Vancouver region. Following the temporary suspension of the U-Pass BC program for the summer term, we continued to work with TransLink, public post-secondary institutions, and student associations across Metro Vancouver to find a solution for the fall term.

After careful consideration and extensive discussion, we can now share that the U-Pass BC program will resume at Capilano University starting on September 1, 2020.

How U-Pass BC works

The U-Pass BC program is structured as a universal and mandatory program for students at participating public post-secondary institutions; it is this universal model that makes the affordability of the U-Pass BC program possible. For students who rely on the U-Pass BC program, this means savings of up to $538 on transit passes every single term.

U-Pass BC fees for the fall term have already been assessed to all students enrolled in classes that would normally be delivered in-person at the main campus or at CapU Lonsdale — this includes classes that are being taught via mixed mode or remote, adapted learning due to COVID-19.

Exemptions and eligibility

Certain students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program, including students with disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, students who hold another transit pass for the entire term, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution.

Students are also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of Metro Vancouver. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

More information on eligibility and exemptions, including application forms, can be found on the Capilano University website.

Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-refundable.

Eligible students not intending to apply for an exemption can visit TransLink’s U-Pass BC website to request their September pass.

Financial assistance

We understand the financial barriers that students are facing, and the CSU will continue to support students who are struggling financially. Late last week, the CSU board of directors approved a new CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund, which provides a bursary equivalent to 50% of the value of U-Pass BC fees for one term for students with demonstrated financial need. The U-Pass BC Hardship Fund application process can be found on the CSU website.

The CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund follows a $75,000 donation to CapU’s Emergency Endowment Fund made earlier this year to help students experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Students with immediate need of financial resources are encouraged to reach out to the CapU financial aid & awards department to discuss options for emergency financial assistance.

Feedback?

We understand some students will have concerns respecting the resumption of the U-Pass BC program, given the unprecedented public health situation. We have carefully considered the concerns that have been raised in recent months, alongside the messages we received from students expressing that they wish to continue accessing the U-Pass BC program, and the significant transit savings that the program provides.

If you would like to share your thoughts about the U-Pass BC program, we encourage you to continue providing us with your perspective at [email protected].

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The U-Pass BC program is a universal, mandatory program for all students enrolled in at least one course and provides unlimited access to transit in the Metro Vancouver region. This includes all bus routes, SkyTrain, and SeaBus. It also gives access to discounts on West Coast Express fares. The U-Pass BC program, including the fee, has been approved by Capilano University students in a referendum.

The U-Pass BC program is a universal, mandatory program for all students enrolled in at least one course. All students who are enrolled in classes that would normally be delivered in-person at the North Vancouver campus or at CapU Lonsdale are required to take part in the U-Pass program. This includes those enrolled in classes that are being taught via mixed mode or remote, adapted (online) learning as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

As a universal, mandatory program, exemptions from the program are limited.

A student is exempt if they have a disability that precludes the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services; if they already have another transit pass for the entire term; or if they have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution.

A student is also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

The U-Pass BC program is structured as a universal and mandatory program for students at participating post-secondary institutions, and it is this universal model that makes the affordability of the U-Pass BC program possible. For students who rely on the U-Pass BC program, this means savings of up to $538 on transit passes every single term.

Certain students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program, including students with disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, students who hold another transit pass for the entire term, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution. 

Students are also exempt if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you.

If you meet any of the above criteria, you are exempt from the U-Pass BC program and can apply for a fee reversal or refund. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

Students are exempt from the U-Pass BC program if they are both (a) studying entirely online without any on-campus instruction, and (b) are living outside of the TransLink service region. If you are living outside of Metro Vancouver for the fall term due to the public health emergency, and your studies are online, then this exemption may apply to you. However, if you are living within the TransLink service region you are still eligible for the U-Pass BC program, even if all your classes are online. 

Students are also exempt if they have disabilities that preclude the use of conventional transit or HandyDART services, as well as students who hold another transit pass for the entire term, or students who have a valid U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution. 

If you meet any of the above criteria, you are exempt from the U-Pass BC program and can apply for a fee-reversal or refund. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

Please note that if you intend to apply for one of these exemption options, we recommend that you do not request or load your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card through the U-Pass BC website, as this may result in one or more months of the U-Pass BC fee being non-reversible.

If you meet the criteria for an exemption, you must complete an exemption application form, which can be found at this link. If your application is accepted, then Capilano University will reverse or refund the applicable U-Pass BC fees.

Capilano University has always offered a selection of courses and programs that are always delivered in an online format, irrespective of the current public health emergency. Students enrolled in these online classes have always been, and continue to be, exempt from the U-Pass BC program.

Some Capilano University courses have been moved from in-person course delivery to a remote, adapted format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that some classes that would have ordinarily been delivered in-person at the North Vancouver campus are now being delivered to students remotely. Students enrolled in these classes would ordinarily be eligible for the U-Pass BC program, and will continue to have access to region-wide travel for a low fee while these classes have been temporarily moved to a remote, adapted delivery format.

The Capilano Students’ Union board of directors recently approved a new CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund, which provides a bursary equivalent to 50% of the value of U-Pass BC fees for one term for students with demonstrated financial need. The CSU U-Pass BC Hardship Fund application process can be found here.

If you are living outside of the TransLink service region for the fall term, and your studies are online, then you may be exempt from the U-Pass BC program. For more information on exemptions, including application forms, click here.

In terms of determining residency in Metro Vancouver, the following is an exhaustive list of places defined as “in Metro Vancouver” for the purposes of the U-Pass BC program:

Metro Vancouver

• Anmore
• Belcarra
• Bowen Island
• Burnaby
• Coquitlam
• Delta
• Langley, City and Township
• Lions Bay
• Maple Ridge
• New Westminster
• North Vancouver, City and District
• Pitt Meadows
• Port Coquitlam
• Port Moody
• Richmond
• Surrey, including Barnston Island
• Tsawwassen First Nation
• UBC
• University Endowment Lands
• Vancouver
• West Vancouver
• White Rock

For greater certainty, the following are examples of areas not part of Metro Vancouver:

• Abbotsford (Fraser Valley Regional District)
• Chilliwack (Fraser Valley Regional District)
• Mission (Fraser Valley Regional District)
• Hope (Fraser Valley Regional District)
• Harrison Hot Springs (Fraser Valley Regional District)
• Squamish (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
• Whistler (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
• Lillooet (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
• Pemberton (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District)
• Sechelt (Sunshine Coast Regional District)
• Gibsons (Sunshine Coast Regional District)

Wed July 29

Students Demand a Stop to Trans Mountain for a Just Recovery

2020-09-11T17:19:21-07:00July 29th, 2020|Blog|

Dear Prime Minister,

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) further burdens the Canadian economy, endangers the environment and communities along the route, and violates Indigenous rights and sovereignty. This is an issue that involves the governments of both present-day Canada and the United States, with much of the oil set to be shipped south of the border. This letter was written by those residing on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the   xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), and q̓icə̓y̓ (Katzie) Nations, but represents students of post-secondary institutions across both Canada and the United States. We students call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implement the principles of a Just Recovery to ensure the security of devastated communities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot proceed with the TMX pipeline, as abandoning it is an essential step in pursuing a Just Recovery.

Climate Change and a Just Economy

In light of the global climate crisis, we categorically reject the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, particularly as Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.  Once finished, the expansion will add approximately 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere per year. Although the projected income from the expansion is intended to be channelled towards a green economy, there is clear cognitive dissonance. Instead of expanding the pipeline, it is imperative to continue investing in clean affordable energy. British Columbia’s green energy sector has attracted billions of dollars in investments, created thousands of jobs, and provides opportunities for First Nations communities. And, with a $12.6 billion CAD price tag, Canadian taxpayers cannot continue to fund a project that will neither benefit the Canadian economy, nor align with present-day Canadian climate change goals. If we truly want to invest in a green economy, we cannot allow the TMX to proceed. We cannot return to business as usual.

A Safe Environment for Wildlife

The expansion project will have negative consequences on the natural environment of the regions it traverses. The 2007 Westridge oil spill and the recent massive spill in Abbotsford are two recent examples of frequent spills, and showcase the disastrous consequences of crude oil, refined and semi-refined product transport. While Trans Mountain has reported that the risk of a marine oil spill within 50 years of TMX expansion is 16-67%, the US Oil Spill Risk Analysis Model and the Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment Methodology estimate this risk to be 58-98%. According to the Rainforest Conservation Foundation, the sound pollution generated by the sevenfold increase in tanker traffic would further endanger marine mammal populations. They also state that Southern Resident killer whales’ chance of functional extinction would increase to 50% within the next 100 years as a result of increased traffic. Residents look forward to being able to interact with nature, and a spill would devastate not only local ecosystems, but these residents as well.

All of these risks and many others are too significant to ignore. It is irresponsible to continue with the expansion while these consequences are well-known. To have an emergency response prepared is not enough; these risks are not acceptable in the first place.

A Healthy and Safe Environment for Students and Local Communities

The Burnaby Mountain Tank Farm facility is located in the city of Burnaby, whose municipal government opposes the expansion. It sits right below the only emergency route off of Burnaby Mountain, in close proximity to Forest Grove Elementary and University Highlands Elementary, and to SFU. According to a study commissioned by the City of Burnaby, with the expansion of the tank farm, the chance of a tank fire increases from 1 in a million to a 1 in 2000 chance per year. In the case of such an event, Gaglardi intersection is the only escape route, meaning that thousands of Burnaby Mountain residents, over 30,000 students and staff at Simon Fraser University, and hundreds of young children at both elementary schools would be trapped on the mountain. This danger is exacerbated by the fact that the nearest emergency response equipment is located 6 hours away. Safety assessment risks conducted by Burnaby Deputy Fire Chief Chris Bowcock, PGL Environmental Consultants’ evaluation risk to SFU, and the Canada Energy Regulator (PLC Fire Safety Solutions) show that there is potential for a catastrophic event, and the expansion puts the surrounding community at risk. This report was only publicly released 3 years after filing and only due to a freedom of information request by the NDP’s Svend Robinson. These potential risks should themselves provide enough reason to suspend the project.

A Real Nation-to-Nation Relationship

Our recovery will not constitute a Just Recovery unless it takes the valid concerns of Indigenous Peoples into account. In addition to initiating construction on unceded, stolen land despite the opposition of Indigenous Peoples along the route, TMX would limit the necessary cultural and economic activities of these groups. In the words of Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation:

… First Nations have won over 250 legal victories over the last 3-4 years against resource extraction projects. Here is our leadership that makes decisions for our people in accordance to our law, which for thousands of years we have been making decisions like this because of our reciprocal relationship of spirit to the lands and the waters protecting what we love, protecting the lineage of where we come from. We will continue to make decisions for our future generations because this present government isn’t capable of doing that so we are making choices for their future generations as well. We come here again, united, to stand up and fight for what we believe in, by any means possible.

Many Indigenous communities are leading their own clean energy projects, such as the Haida Nation, which has built the largest community-owned solar project in BC. Indigenous-led clean energy projects are a viable investment alternative as they allow for “self-determined economic development” of First Nations communities. In the case that investing in such projects is insufficient, TMX still cannot go through because it has not received meaningful and uncoerced consent from all affected First Nations. Although many of the affected First Nations have signed agreements with Trans Mountain, a distinction must be made between Indigenous governance and titleholders. According to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, who is the current President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, “title is territory-wide, it encompasses the entire footprint of the territory and the proper titleholders are the individual members of the First Nation community, not the elected band councils”. Similarly, Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith First Nation states:

We have the Trans Mountain pipeline here in our territory that has no consent from our proper titleholders either. They say they have some agreements signed with bands, but bands can’t own a territory. The federal government created [the elected chief and councils], not our people, and here there has been no transfer of authority.

Furthermore, agreements with First Nations do not necessarily imply consent. And, in the case that some groups do provide their consent, consent from some does not constitute consent from all. BC Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender has called for a halt to construction of TMX and other major projects until “all Indigenous peoples impacted by the projects” voice their support. As long as there are First Nations who oppose the project, the expansion constitutes an attack on Indigenous self-determination.

Additionally, ‘mancamps’ are a common occurrence in resource extraction projects. In this phenomenon, the influx of transient workers into the surrounding communities increases the prevalence of physical and sexual violence against Indigenous women. The institution of reactive policies is insufficient, and their implementation lacks consistency across workplaces, often failing to ensure the safety of Indigenous women. The presence of ‘mancamps’ often leads to an increase in the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people.

In listening to the voices of Indigenous people, the government of present-day Canada must recognize the voices of all titleholders as legitimate, commit to gaining support from all those affected by the expansion, and ensure the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people in the surrounding communities. The future of this country will continue to lack justice unless it is predicated on a real commitment to a “‘nation-to-nation’ relationship with Indigenous Peoples”, one that does not include the unjust obstruction of First Nations’ challenges to the expansion.

Calls to Action

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that our current economic structures are unsustainable and inequitable. To allow for the country to justly recover and rebuild in a way that benefits all inhabitants, we call on the federal government to ensure the following:

  1. Immediately cease TMX and commit to honouring Indigenous sovereignty
  • We call for the immediate ratification and legislation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in present-day Canada. This is essential to a Just Recovery. The Senate’s failure to pass Bill C-262 was deeply frustrating, and if the Liberal Party is committed to “implement[ing] the Declaration as government legislation by the end of 2020”, then it must recognize that the approval and construction  of TMX violates the Declaration.
  • We call for the implementation of the calls to action in Volumes 1a and 1b the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  1. Invest in Indigenous-led green infrastructure and green job-retaining initiatives

As leader of present-day Canada, Justin Trudeau announced plans for the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, marched in the September 2019 Climate Strike, and referred to today’s youth as the ‘greatest generation’ of the 21st century. However, these actions are called into question by his purchase of fossil fuel infrastructure, an action which does not align with environmental leadership. Calls for stronger action are not being heeded. As a consequence, the impacts of the country’s lack of preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic are miniscule compared to those of our lack of preparation to address the climate crisis. Is the federal government ready to accept responsibility for putting the safety of thousands of people at risk, including those of young children, for a dirty pipeline that is not only unprofitable, but that counteracts efforts to mitigate climate change? We call on the Canadian federal government to take meaningful towards the creation of a more sustainable and just future by terminating the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

Sincerely,

Concerned Students of what is currently Northern America

American Indian Graduate Student Association (UCLA)
McMaster Students’ Union
Students’ Society of McGill University
Concordia Student Union
Arts and Science Federation of Associations (Concordia University)
SFU Graduate Student Society
Society of Arts and Social Sciences (SFU)
First Nations’ University of Canada Students’ Association
University of Victoria Students’ Society
Carleton University Students’ Association
Capilano Students’ Union
Trent Central Student Association
Le Regroupement étudiant de maîtrise, diplôme et doctorat de l’Université de Sherbrooke (REMDUS)

Thu July 16

U-Pass BC program remains suspended until August 31, 2020. Plans for fall semester ongoing.

2020-07-16T17:20:15-07:00July 16th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

The Capilano Students’ Union worked closely with its partners at TransLink, other student associations, and post-secondary institutions to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program from May 1 as course delivery moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We worked hard during our negotiations with TransLink to ensure that as many students as possible would benefit from the program suspension. We understand that some students still use transit services to get to work, run errands, care for loved ones, etc. However, the way that the U-Pass BC program is setup to allow a low-fee for region-wide transit requires it to be an “all or nothing” program and so there was unfortunately no option for individual students who needed it to choose to pay for a U-Pass, or receive a concession fare for transit services.

We recognize that the fall semester is going to look very different for many students. With classes online and COVID-19 still present in BC, many students will be learning from home or reducing their travel and chance of exposure. Others may not even be physically in Metro Vancouver. Financial resources are also tight for students and any extra money in their pocket would be hugely beneficial. On the other hand, many students are still taking classes or conducting research on campus, travelling to and from work, and relying on transit for errands, groceries, and social connections. For these students who rely on transit, the cost of a monthly pass is much higher than the reduced cost of a U-Pass and would be an even bigger financial burden during this challenging time. 

In short, there is unfortunately no easy solution for administering the U-Pass BC program in the fall semester considering the large disparity in the number of students needing the program, the requirement to follow the terms of the U-Pass BC agreement, and importance of respecting the large amount of student support for the program in every U-Pass BC referendum conducted by student associations across the region.

We are working tremendously hard with our partners at TransLink, other student associations, and post-secondary institutions across Metro Vancouver to find the best path forward for this program. We know that a reduced transit pass is a lifeline for many students, while also being a huge financial burden for others during this uncertain time. We remain confident that we will be able to come to a solution that works for the largest number of students, but unfortunately don’t have anything concrete to share with you at this time. 

The suspension is currently agreed to be in place up until the end of August 2020. However, as discussions with partners are ongoing to determine if and when the U-Pass BC program can resume, you may have noticed that your fee statement includes the U-Pass BC fee for fall course registration. Please note, this fee is still subject to change, as no decision has been made yet about the operations of the program. If the U-Pass BC remains suspended for the fall term, CapU will provide those students who have paid the U-Pass BC fee an account-credit or a refund.

Please continue to share your views with us by emailing [email protected] as we are taking all student feedback into account as we continue discussions with TransLink and post-secondary institutions to try and come to a solution that benefits students.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

As summer courses at all post-secondary institutions in Metro Vancouver will be delivered via online learning, the decision was made by TransLink, student associations (including the CSU), and post-secondary institutions to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program until classes return to in-person learning.

We worked hard during our negotiations with TransLink to ensure that as many students as possible would benefit from the program suspension. However, the program is “all or nothing” and so there is unfortunately no option for individual students to opt-in to the U-Pass BC program.

The U-Pass BC program suspension is currently agreed to be in place up until the end of August 2020. Students enrolled in courses for fall 2020 have been assessed the U-Pass BC fee but that fee is still subject to change, as no decision has been made yet about the operations of the program. 

If the U-Pass BC remains suspended for the fall term, the post-secondary institution will provide those students who have paid the U-Pass BC fee an account-credit or a refund.

The university issued refunds to those who did not activate their April passes now as well as those who activated their April pass and spent less than $41. Refunds were applied to students’ CapU accounts. 

According to CapU’s website, fee refunds are mailed to the address on your myCapU account about six weeks after the beginning of the term, so students with positive balances in their CapU accounts should have either received their refunds already or be receiving their refunds soon. Check your mail!

Email [email protected] to share your views, as we are taking all student feedback into account as we continue discussions with TransLink and post-secondary institutions to try and come to a solution that benefits students.

Thu June 11

Letter to Capilano University faculty on consideration for Black students

2020-06-15T12:11:16-07:00June 11th, 2020|Blog|

Dear Capilano University faculty members,

The world is rallying around the injustice of the killing of Black folks in the United States and Canada including George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. Amidst this, discussions around white supremacy, police violence, and anti-racism are more prevalent than ever. We stand in solidarity and support with our Black community members: students, faculty, and staff.

Black lives matter.

Many Black folks are being asked for emotional labour, or feeling a sense of responsibility to engage online in more dedicated ways than before. Discussions about breaking down systemic racism are critical, but the inundation of information we are receiving — especially in response to such violence — is exhausting and triggering for racialized and, especially, Black students in our community. The Black community in Vancouver is small, and many members of this community have either had direct interactions with the police themselves, or know someone who has. These interactions are negative, violent, and traumatizing — and the current news and social media climate has the capacity to re-traumatize folks with these experiences.

On behalf of our students and the Black community, we ask you to proactively provide academic accommodations to Black students through the summer semesters, in recognition that students’ well-being is the first priority during these exceptional circumstances. While there are ways in which students may ask for accommodations themselves, such as approaching accessibility services or counselling, these are institutional barriers that many don’t have the ability to interface with at this time.

Our appeal is this: treat students with the same compassion you would hope to receive were your community grieving or under duress. We are an institution of higher learning, and right now our students are being called on to be community instructors and educate the world on systemic oppression, police brutality, and what it means to be anti-racist. We call on you to honour this additional labour these students have been forced to undertake, and listen with an open mind and heart when they ask for your support.

______________
Emily Bridge
President, Capilano Students’ Union

CC: Laureen Styles (Vice President, Academic and Provost)
Ted Gervan (Dean, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts)
Pouyan Mahboubi (Dean, Faculty of Arts & Sciences)
Brad Martin (Dean, Faculty of Education, Health, & Human Development)
Lara Duke (Dean, Faculty of Global & Community Studies)
Capilano Faculty Association