GET ACTIVE! BE HEARD!
We take our lead from you! As your student's union, YFS is dependent on members to develop campaigns, events and services. Students are the ones responsible for ensuring that YFS stays relevant and reflects the social, economic and political interest of students,
while improving overall student life at York University. YFS is only as strong as its membership so get involved! Active participation is crucial for the success of our campaigns and events.
As a member you can participate through:
1. Developing Campaigns and Events
Members can be directly involved in implementing events or campaigns. Help launch new campaigns, or participate in organizing our existing campaigns, such as The Hikes Stop Here, Anti- War Coalitions, Education Coalitions, No means No, Students for Sustainability, Students for Greater Transit Access, the Task Force on Campus Food and much more!
2. YFS Committees
There are a number of different committees in the YFS that are responsible for overseeing the development of campaigns, events, policies and club funding that you can get involved in. Through the Campaigns Committee, you can help to shape the campaigns that your students’ union takes on.
3. Community Service Groups
YFS has five Community Service Groups that organize and support progressive social change for students. In addition, these groups provide safe spaces for various marginalized populations in society. The York United Black Student Alliance (YUBSA), Trans-gendered, Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay and Allies at York (TBLGAY), the Access Centre, Aboriginal Student Association at York (ASAY), and the United South Asians at York (USAY) all function under an anti-oppressive framework and welcome students who want to get involved.
Government Relations & Advocacy:
York Federation of Students represents students' issues and concerns to government at all levels of governance. YFS, united with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has become a strong presence on Parliament Hill and in provincial legislatures across Canada, meeting regularly with federal Members of Parliament, provincial Members of Parliament, other government officials and representatives from all political parties at the federal and provincial levels. In Canada, most post-secondary education financing is provided by the federal government but is administered exclusively at the provincial level. Government policies and priorities determine the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada. Thus, the Federation employs a government relations strategy that addresses both federal and provincial representatives. YFS also meets regularly with York University administration to fight for your rights on Keele and Glendon campus.
As your elected representatives, we meet with Members of Provincial Parliament and lobby
for student rights. Typically organized in a concentrated period of time, these lobby meetings bring a diverse group of students to have face-to-face meetings with policy-makers in the York-region and across the province about our membership's concerns with the current state of post-secondary education.
Federation representatives regularly meet with government representatives from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Women's Directorate, Elections Ontario, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and post-secondary education critics from the opposition parties.
Over the years, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), of which we are a part of, has become a strong presence on Parliament Hill. Federation representatives meet regularly with federal MPs, other government officials and representatives from all political parties in Ottawa and at the provincial level. In addition, the Federation is frequently invited to make presentations to government committees and task forces.
Federal lobbying tools are available for download here.
Shouldn't everyone who is healthy be able to donate blood regardless of their sexual orientation? Stop the discrimination against men who have had sex with men.
This campaign is lobbying the Ministry of Health, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec to adopt an approach that looks at risk behaviour, rather than sexual identity, to help protect the blood supply from outcomes similar to what we have seen in HIV and HCV transmission.
The Canadian Blood Services (CBS), as mandated by its regulator, Health Canada, has placed a lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men (MSM) anytime since 1977. The MSM deferral is part of the screening procedures that are designed to identify a variety of behaviours and circumstances known to increase risk to the safety of the blood supply.
The current policy does not, however, take into account the use of protection in sexual activity, the various risk levels of different types of sexual interaction, or the donor’s relationship status. The ban on blood donation from the MSM community is discriminatory, and based on outdated science and broad and old-fashioned stereotypes of the queer population.
Click here to send a letter to the Minister to stop this discriminatory policy.
Students demand a more affordable, high quality public transportation system that recognises regional needs and priorities. Successful campaigns have gained historic victories that save money for students, such as the U-Pass in Ottawa and the discounted TTC Metropass in Toronto.
Students across the Greater Toronto Area are uniting in a call for more affordable and accessible transit for post-secondary education students travelling across the GTA.
We want you to have your say; your opportunity to share your concerns and suggestions for what transit in the GTA should look like, regardless of which transit line you ride.
Please take a few moments to fill out this survey so that student activists can use your stories to lobby transit decision-makers to make transit more affordable and accessible.
Bill C-23, the ironically named “Fair Elections Act” is a bill that would dangerously change how, and if, some Canadians can participate in our democracy. This Bill suppresses voters through tactics like making voter identification more difficult, prohibiting Elections Canada from encouraging students on our campus to vote and reducing the ability of the Chief Electoral Officer to do her or his duties.
Not only is the Fair Elections Act a threat to our democratic right as Canadians, these changes would affect students, seniors, the homeless and Indigenous communities in the most harmful way. We believe that this is wrong. All Canadians have the right to vote and the government should be making it easier, not more difficult to do so.
Sign the petition here and let your voice be heard!
Together, we won! If you are looking for a safe and quiet space to do some late night cramming before the big final, your students' union has got you covered by winning 24-hour access to the main floor of Scott Library during exam periods. While you are studying, stay awake by visiting the POD Express café in Curtis Lecture Halls, open until 5AM during exam times.
The change came about after years of student pressure and lobbying and has been extremely well attended. The space gives students a quiet place to do some late night studying and also enhances campus safety by creating a safe, well-used, monitored space for you to do some exam review.
Students at York University face a number of unique challenges to finding fresh, affordable and healthy meal options on both Keele and Glendon campuses. Options for late night eats are few and far between; campus cafeterias dish out the same bland food for outrageous prices; buying groceries is a journey; and unless you’re willing to pay big bucks for a suite, students in residence can’t cook much more than Kraft Dinner and pizza pockets!
We created the Task Force on Campus Food survey in 2012. Over 3500 students filled out the survey, having their say on what students at York need in order to face better food options on campus. From the feedback you gave us, we created the Final Report of the Task Force on Campus Food. Since it was written, almost half of the recommendations that came from the report are completed, proving that student action works!
Join us in fighting for more sustainable, fair, healthy and affordable food options for students at York University.
York University students face unique challenges to accessing education. Ontario boasts the highest tuition fees in the country, yet students in the province see the largest class sizes, the worst per-student funding and the lowest teacher-to-student ratio in all of Canada. While these obstacles affect all students in the province, York students especially feel the pressure of add and drop deadlines that are financially restrictive and unfair. Because of this, YFS created the Add-Drop Deadline proposal to the University. The evidence led us to believe that York University’s add/drop policy should be amended. It is important for us to look critically at our policies to determine if the methods being applied are fair to York students. With some minor cost-neutral adjustments to the policy, we can provide much needed relief for students at York.
1. Removing this arbitrary $15 fee will relieve for students who are unsure if the class they are enrolled in is what they need or expect, and will reduce anxiety in the first week of school.
2. Modify the percentage deducted from the student’s refund by half for Fall, Winter and Full-Year courses.
3. Create deadlines for syllabus postings for professors, prior to the start of classes.
4. Continue working on academic advising initiatives to reduce the number of students hoarding classes.
5. Raise awareness to students regarding the timeline of refund reductions.
International students are an important part of York University, making our institution more diverse and contributing to the academic community. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of international students at Ontario colleges increased five-fold, while the number of international students at Ontario universities almost tripled.
International students have a large economic impact, contributing $3 billion yearly to the province’s economy through paying tuition fees, spending on basic living expenses, income taxes and consumer spending. Despite these significant contributions, international students are faced with various challenges when it comes to access to post-secondary education, health care and immigration processes.
In February 2014, the YFS participated in the Fairness for International Students campaign with the Canadian Federation of Students, to address the challenges faced by international students. This campaign included a component on tuition fees, OHIP for international students, and more fair immigration processes and policies for students coming into the country.
Students in Ontario pay the highest tuition fees in all of Canada, while sitting in the largest classrooms with the worst teacher-to-student ratio and the lowest per-student funding in North America. Last year students in Ontario adopted the Hikes Stop Here campaign, enforcing to the politicians calling the shots on our education that we will not stand for further barriers to our education.
When Kathleen Wynne went to school, she paid less that $850 a year in tuition fees. During the provincial election, “The Hikes Stop Here” was one of the main points we were asking all parties to comment on. Over 70 per cent of new jobs require a college or university education, meaning now, more than ever, affordable education needs to be a government priority.
Your government must take immediate action to address the rising cost of post-secondary education in this province by cancelling the current tuition fee framework, immediately reducing tuition fees by 30 per cent for all students, and instituting a long-term plan to fund college and university education.
We have also created a petition for the Hikes Stop Here campaign putting pressure on the York University President, Mamdouh Shoukri to take a stand against high tuition fees in the province.
These were our demands:
1. Write a letter to the Provincial government to prioritize and adequately fund post-secondary education in Ontario.
2. Be an ally to students and speak out against the decision made by the York
University Board of Governors to increase tuition fees at York University.
3. Pressure the Board of Governors to eliminate the $825 additional head tax on
international students at York.
4. Prioritize needs-based grants at York University to make more grants available to those who qualify.
Get involved in YFS Education Coalitions to help make an accessible and affordable education a reality for Ontario students!
At York University we are constantly bombarded by a culture that allows gender-based violence and sexual assault to occur on a regular basis. Students at York have pointed to safety and security as a huge factor in their overall experience in their time here. Because of this, students from across the province united through the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario (CFS-O) to create the Campus Toolkit for Combatting Sexual Violence.
In addition, YFS has been working hard to establish a sexual assault policies, and investigate new ways to make our campus a safer place. In June 2010, the final report of a campus safety audit which had been carried out by the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) was completed.
This audit included 100 recommendations for how to make York University a safer space. Since its creation, representatives from the York Federation of Students have been pushing to mandate the University to make the changes recommended in the METRAC Safety Audit.
You wouldn't pay for a bag of oxygen, so way pay for a bottle of water? Bottled water is between 240 and 10,000 times more expensive than tap water, allowing companies to reap huge profits for a natural resource they pay virtually nothing for.
The bottled-water industry actively opposes legislation aimed at improving recycling rates for plastic bottles and in some cases tests their water less frequently than public municipalities.
Since the campaign launch, 26 campuses, 87 municipalities and 8 school boards across Canada have taken the pledge to eliminate the sale of bottled-water. With York University striving to be a leader in post-secondary institutions for sustainability, the University pledged in April of 2012 to phase out the sale of bottled-water by September of 2015.
Together, WE WON!
Click here for more information on the national push to phase out the sale of bottled water on our campuses.
For more information on Campaigns Initiatives and on how to get involved....
Contact: Rawan Habib, Vice-President Campaigns and Advocacy
Phone: 416-736-2100 ext. 77679