Dear President Andrew Petter,
We, the international students community at Simon Fraser University, strongly oppose the imposition of the new MSP health coverage fee and condemn the University for failing to take proactive steps to ensure international student workers, including TAs, TMs, and Sessionals, have these required premiums paid by the University.
Starting on September 1, 2019 an additional premium component, a Health Coverage Fee of $37.50/month, was added to the cost of MSP for international students. This fee increases to $75/month as of January 1, 2020. International student workers are currently receiving letters from Revenue Services BC indicating payment will be due in November 2019. Our understanding is that you have not yet agreed to:
- cover international student workers’ MSP premiums, including the Health Coverage Fee, during Fall 2019, nor
- cover international student workers’ MSP premiums, including the Health Coverage Fee, as of January 1, 2020.
We believe that MSP premiums for SFU’s international student workers have to be fully covered by SFU in order to ensure equity and fairness for international students. For single international student workers, failing to cover the fee will result in a loss of $150 dollars during Fall 2019 and a loss of $300 dollars next term. For those who have a partner and a child this amount would go upward from $450 during Fall 2019 and from $900 for every following term. This is exclusive of the extended health care charges included in international students’ tuition fees.
International student workers already face substantial barriers in accessing education. This failure to cover MSP premiums adds to those barriers and treats us as second-class student workers. This violates the basic principles of what constitutes a community. It prioritizes citizenship and permanent residence status as requirements to grant full rights and membership to the university community and a betrayal to international student workers, to whom the University pledges a conducive learning environment. How conducive is an environment that exploits, extorts, and violates the rights of a critical mass of its population?
Our work as TAs, TMs, and SIs contributes significantly to the SFU community and should be duly recognized. We are students who work and provide vital labour force at SFU and have rights. We should be treated as full members of the SFU community. The first step towards that would be ensuring that SFU Administration confirm it will cover international student workers’ MSP Premiums.
Finally, it is important to recognize that what affects international students does not just affect international students. It affects us all. SFU prides itself on being an institution with a global outlook, “engaging the world”. It is lamentable that the university would invite the world in, and then turn their backs on them in this manner.
Given how time-sensitive and how significantly this impacts the SFU community, we demand you respond urgently to our union to ensure our MSP premiums are paid in full.
International Students Workers and Allies