CFS Fact Check

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Your handy guide to the claims of the Yes side

An online exclusive

Cheyenne Geysen
Op-Ed Editor

Claim: The CFS are lobbying the federal government to: reduce student debt by shifting the education-related savings schemes and tax credits to up-front student grants; attempting to ensure access to a high-quality post-secondary education for students in every province; show leadership by restoring federal funding for post-secondary education to 1992 levels; guarantee action on these goals by adopting a post-secondary education act; take action on income-contingent loan repayment; exercise more control over federal transfer payments, as under the current scheme provincial governments are free to do as they please with these, giving them the ability to displace funds meant for education.

Accuracy: Almost accurate

None of these points have seen much action from the federal government, but CFS is indeed lobbying for each. It’s important to note, though, that the last point isn’t 100 per cent accurate. Under the current system, federal governments are responsible for a Canada Social Transfer (CST), which is meant for post secondary education, social programs, and social assistance, early childhood education, and early learning and childcare. According to the Department of Finance Canada, the amounts that are to be allocated to each of these areas is clearly laid out.


Claim
: CFS are lobbying for increased aboriginal funding

Accuracy: Entirely accurate

CFS has thrown its weight behind the save FNUC campaign; it called for funding beginning in June, after it was announced that the Federal government was not planning on reinstating their portion of the funding.

Claim: CFS is working at removing current barriers to accessing post-secondary education

Accuracy: Too vague to be accurate.

There are no examples given anywhere on CFS’ site as to what these barriers are. Without this information, it’s hard to know exactly what they are fighting for. It could be argued that their campaigns for tuition reduction and grant-based rather than loan-based student debt alleviation are what CFS is referencing here, but it seems redundant to do so.

Claim: they are members of several organizations: Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Polaris Institute (advocates for clean and accessible public water infrastructure), Sierra Young Coalition and Green Economy Network (works to integrate sustainability into all aspects of society and individual lifestyles and coordinates with campus environmental groups), Common Frontiers (advocate alternatives to the economic integration of the Americas), International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, United Students Against Sweatshops, Make Poverty History & Poor No More, Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, Canadian University Queer Services Conference (brings together groups and associations that provide services, advocacy, and resources for Queer students).

Accuracy: Entirely accurate

CFS is in fact a member of all of these organizations.

Claim
: CFS holds the only student seat on the Advisory Committee on International Students and Immigration. This allows the Federation to ensure that the student perspective is considered when regulations pertaining to the internationalisation of education are being discussed. Additionally, membership keeps the federation informed of developments in federal immigration policy, regulations and programs, and changes in domestic regulations surrounding international students.

Accuracy: Partially accurate.

CFS is listed as being part of this organization on the official website for the Advisory Committee. Other student organizations are also listed, however, such as International Public Secondary Education Association and the Alberta Centre for International Education, to name a few.  So CFS probably does not hold the “only” student seat.

Claim
: The CFS issues International Students Identity Cards for reduced cost.

Accuracy: Accurate, depending on one’s definition of “reduced cost”

Up until this week these cards were obtainable directly from URSU’s office. The “reduced cost” portion of the claim is due to a $20 charge for non-members, as opposed to CFS members, who get them for free.

Claim
: CFS issues an annual Students Union Directory. It contains contact information for over 250 students unions, campus groups, government departments of significance to students’ unions, and the names and positions of students’ unions executive members and staff, enrolment numbers, and information on students’ union membership dues.

Accuracy: Entirely accurate.

URSU is listed in this directory.

Claim: CFS maintains several websites and “communication kits”: VoteEducation.ca, isic.cfs-fcee.ca

Accuracy: Accurate

Their own website (cs-fcee.ca) hasn’t had its copyright information updated since 2008. The Sask. Branch’s webpage, cfs-sk.ca brings up a page that says “come back and see the new look in September.” September is past – as of October 24, the website still said that.
VoteEducation.ca appears to be updated regularly.

Claim: Offers Student’s Union Handbook Service

Accuracy: Accurate, but of questionable relevance

URSU offers handbooks to its students. These are not the same as the ones the CFS offers. This means URSU has made the choice to issue their own, not that CFS doesn’t offer them. Their website shows a clear example of the 2010/11 planner.

Claim: CFS offers the National Student Health Network.

Accuracy: Accurate, but of questionable relevance

This is true; again, URSU has decided to go with a different program for the U of R. Both programs appear to be similar in content and fees.

Claim: Each year, Federation members receive their Studentsaver Card through their local students' association.

Accuracy: Accurate, but of questionable relevance

According to the U of R website, students do receive the Studentsaver Card; however, unlike in previous years, the card was not included in the day planners. Beyond that, a look at the Studentsaver database reveals that no businesses in Saskatchewan support the card.

Claim: CFS offers a 10 per cent discount on fees for the Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP)

Accuracy: Difficult to determine
SWAP is actually a program of CFS. This is clearly stated on their website.

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