Cost of living
According to Statistics Canada the general CPI index increased by 3.5% from Sep 2015 to Sep 2017, while GTAs earnings only increased by 2% (a percent each year).
The chart on the right show how would GTA income have changed if it had kept up with the price of shelter, general CPI basket, food, or tuition fees.
Official SGPS website estimates the cost of living in London $16,320 - $21,240. Our recent survey** shows that only 21% GTAs reported net income of $17,000 or more. 44% GTAs have income of $11,000 or less.
A clawback is the situation when a GTA's financial support package components are decreased when one of the components increases. For example, if GTA salary increases a department may decrease the amount of Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), or Western Graduate Research Scholarship (WGRS), or both in order to prevent increase in total financial support.
The Collective Agreement that just expired on August 31 has clause 18.03, which was meant to protect from clawbacks due to GTA salary increase. However, because of vague language many GTAs continue experiencing clawbacks. Nethertheless, the Union considers this unrightful and encourages any GTA experiencing clawbacks to start grievance process, consult with your Union at firstname.lastname@example.org (CC your bargaining email@example.com).
More than 195 out of 820 respondents report** net income below $11,000 in 2016. One in three GTAs will incur debt* as a result of graduate studies. When asked about the cost of their studies, specifically the level of debt incurred as a result of graduate studies, respondents gave a wide range of responses, ranging from less than $5,000 to more than $120,000. Based on specific or approximate dollar amounts given, respondents who responded that they will incur debt as a result of their graduate studies will incur an average of $27,426 in debt*.
Domestic graduate students can apply for a governmental loan (OSAP), while international students cannot apply for OSAP and have to rely on limited resources of Union's financial aid funds and funding from abroad.
When asked if GTAs receive monetary support from family or friends (excluding spouses/partners), 26% answered yes**. One in four GTAs (24%) works 6 or more hours other jobs (other than TAship and research).