2018 UMGSA Referendum Question

The UMGSA Council has approved a referendum question to be put to all graduate students, phrased as follows:

“Do you support having the fees collected on behalf of the UMGSA indexed to inflation?”

Why is There a Referendum Question?

For over ten years, no UMGSA fees have changed—however, prices for most goods and services have risen over that period. This general rise in the price of goods and services is called “inflation”. Although UMSU passed a motion several years ago to increase their student fees automatically with the rate of inflation, UMGSA student fees have remained stagnant for more than ten years.

As our fees have stagnated, costs have risen, and the UMGSA is having trouble maintaining its student services.

After conducting a financial analysis of the UMGSA’s finances, the Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Council recommended that a question be posed to graduate students about whether all UMGSA fees should be indexed to the rate of inflation.

What is the Rate of Inflation, and How Much Will it Cost Me?

The rate of inflation changes from year to year. For the past ten years, the average rate of inflation in Canada has been 1.565%. Inflation rates for the past 20 years in Canada have ranged between 0.72% and 3.8% (taken from inflation.eu).

UMGSA student fees for the 2018-2019 school year are $84.87 for each of the fall and winter semesters, and $5 for the summer semester.

Calculated with the average rate of inflation over ten years (1.565%), this would mean a potential increase of $1.33 for each of the fall and winter semesters, and 8 cents for the summer semester, for a total of $2.74 more per year. This is an estimate, and the exact cost would vary from year to year dependent on the rate of inflation.

How Can I Get Involved?

The campaigning period for the referendum will begin on November 26th, and voting will take place online from December 5th to 7th.  Any graduate student who wishes to campaign during the referendum may join either the Yes Side or the No Side. To indicate you would like to join one of the sides, please email to cro@umgsa.org, including your first and last names, faculty, year, and student number.

Initial members of each side will receive a group email to begin their collaboration shortly. Each side will select an official authorized representative to be the primary contact between the side and the CRO no later than 4pm on Friday, November 9th. Members who wish to join after the initial formation of a side should also email the CRO, and their contact information will be forwarded to the authorized representative of the selected side.

If you would like to learn more about the rules and regulations governing UMGSA elections and referenda, read our Elections and Referenda Policy and Procedure Manual.

Where Does My Money Go?

The funds from UMGSA fees go directly towards resources that support graduate students. Some of our most notable services include Conference Grants, Special Project Grants, Emergency Grants, Department Grants, free use of our spaces, discounted printing, student advocacy, support from UMGSA staff and Executives and much more. Conference Grants alone provide individual graduate students with up to $750 in funding per fiscal year – so it’s very easy to get money spent on student fees back (and then some).

Any fee increase tied to the rate of inflation would be incorporated into our budget to account for the rising costs of the services we offer.

Who Can Vote?

All graduate students registered at the University of Manitoba are eligible to vote.

How Can I Vote?

Voting will be held online from December 5th to 7th, 2018. Check back here for a link when online voting goes live.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about the Referendum question, feel free to contact Ruth or Jayne at the UMGSA Office.