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GSS Newsletter – May 21, 2020


GSS Measures for COVID-19

COVID-19 Relief Fund

With the increasing demand for financial assistance for graduate students, GSS has launched a special COVID-19 Relief Fund for Summer 2020, to adjust its services to the current needs of its members. Starting from $25,000 to a maximum of $35,000, the relief fund would be used to feed the exhausted budgets of current GSS programs such as Emergency Grocery Cards and Family Subsidy as well as a new Transit subsidy program which will be offered due to the cancellation of the Upass for the summer semester.


Emergency Grocery Cards

EGCs are $50 Walmart or Superstore gift cards, offered each semester to students in financial need. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a hike in requests for EGCs. We ran out of the dedicated budget mid Spring, therefore, the university had contributed $10,000 extra for the Spring semester and will be contributing another $10,000 for the Summer semester and GSS will also allocate $5,000 to this budget line from the relief fund. The following adjustments have been made to the program:

  • The max number of card limits has been lifted for the summer semester, meaning that all graduate students would be eligible to apply for an EGC regardless of the number EGCs they have received so far.
  • International students eligible for an EGC will automatically receive two $50 cards for the summer semester. 
  • Domestic students would be able to apply for one card as usual, however, Those in demonstrated financial need may apply for an additional card and additional cards will be awarded based on the decisions made by the Grants Allocation Committee.

Apply for an EGC here


Family subsidy

Family subsidy program is offered to assist students with dependents. In light of COVID-19, the program has been revised and the application process has been transferred online. Other than the additional $5,000 from the relief fund that would be added to this existing budget line, we also relaxed and expanded our eligibility requirements as follows:

  • In addition to students with dependent children (under age 22), students with dependent children over the age of 22 and students with no dependents but who are taking care of elderly relatives may also be considered for the award, subject to the decision of the Grants Allocation Committee. 
  • The deadline for applications has been lifted and applications would be adjudicated on a rolling basis, after the add/drop deadline.

Apply for FS here


Transit fund

Due to the cancelation of the Upass program, GSS will be offering a monthly Transit Subsidy to students who still need to use public transit for their academic progress starting June 1st. GSS has allocated $15,000 to this budget line and is asking the university to contribute to this fund as well. Details about the program and its eligibility requirements will be available on GSS Newsletter and GSS website in the following weeks. For any questions or concerns contact the director of graduate service at


Wellness & Safety

COVID-19 Emotional Support Group

Are you struggling with distress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic? Has your mental health been impacted by physical distancing or self-isolating? Are you feeling alone? The team of mental health professionals at Health & Counselling Services are here to support you. Sign up for a free emotional support group for graduate students here:


Funding & Scholarships

The Pradeep Khare Memorial scholarship for international students from India

  • Applications due June 26, 2020.
  • Short-listed applicants will be contacted and interviews scheduled in August 2020. All applicants will be contacted regarding their application status.
  • The Scholarship will be awarded in September 2020.



Helpful resource package put together by CGEU

Compiled by the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CGEU) with assistance of volunteers and allies.  This document provides links to categories of documents that relate to the efforts of CGEU members and other labor unions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Link:


Summer Bursary Funding for Graduate Students affected by COVID-19

The Financial Aid and Awards office, through Student Services, and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are offering the opportunity to apply for Summer bursary funding. The bursary application system for this additional layer of support is now open on and the deadline to apply is May 22, 2020 (11:59 pm PDT).  Students with demonstrated financial need may qualify for up to $3,500 in funding through this program, depending on the assessment of their financial situation over the Summer term. Financial Aid and Awards will process this funding as soon as possible, but please note that it will be available by the middle of the term, after the tuition deadline, so please plan accordingly.


The Canadian and BC governments introduced emergency benefits for students

The Canadian and BC governments also introduced emergency benefits for students. If you haven’t applied yet, further information can be found on their websites to determine if you qualify. For an overview of funding that you may qualify for, please check the Financial Support Resources During COVID-19 Guide for Graduate Students found on Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website (and attached) as well as Financial Aid and Awards. ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Member Mobilization Committee Summer Solidarity Workshops

Want to lead your own workshop this summer? There’s still time to submit a proposal for TSSU’s Summer Solidarity workshop programme. Whether it’s sharing teaching tips, showing-off a new skill, or keeping members relaxed and active, we’d love to hear your ideas.



If you have events or announcements that you would like to see included in next months’ GSS newsletters, you can share them with us by emailing

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