But seriously, let’s talk

Bell Let’s Talk campaign points to larger issues in mental health advocacy.

Every year, Bell Let’s Talk Day strikes a chord. As the event on Jan. 24 approaches, I want to talk more about exactly what makes this seemingly well-intentioned campaign a bit unsavoury, and how its nature is indicative of larger issues. 

For context, Bell Let’s Talk was started in 2010 by the telecommunications company Bell Media as the largest mental health initiative in Canada. Though it’s an ongoing campaign, each January is marked by a specific day where their advertising goes full force. I’m sure everyone is familiar with their pledge to donate five cents to mental health programs for every text and social media interaction that includes #BellLetsTalk, and the subsequent flooding of similar messaging—although in 2023, the company announced they would replace this strategy with a $10 M lump sum donation. 

In a sense, the campaign filled an important gap, as few other major companies are so vocally dedicated to the issue of mental health. This advocacy takes the form of four pillars, according to their website: “fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world class research and leading by example in workplace mental health” (which is ironic considering past allegations concerning Bell’s working conditions). Their mission statement in contrast to their actions can be scrutinized, along with their overall mental health advocacy campaign. 

The name itself is problematic to many who have speculated on the corporatization of mental health and the fact that Bell features its own name so boldly. In a 2019 statement, the company claimed that “it put its name on the campaign because no one else would,” as mental health was discussed very little at the time. Still, this is a very effective advertising campaign that ultimately benefits the company, no matter what cause they’re supporting. Maybe I’m biased—personally, I’m skeptical of any major corporation that claims to be doing a good deed—but publicity is still publicity.

The publicity often takes the form of short videos about mental illness coupled with alarming statistics (such as this one, which tackles suicide rates in Canada). Though destigmatizing conversations around mental illness do need a starting point, the videos are a little reductive and sensationalized. The presentation usually includes a shock factor, and the solution is always the same: just reach out. The campaign implies that talking about it is the most difficult step, but fails to acknowledge the systemic issues within mental health programs. Sure, there are resources out there. But how good are they?

Mental health resources are just another part of a broken health care system that is often inaccessible, damaged by bureaucracy and a lack of proper care. From what I’ve witnessed through friends and family members who sought help, the truth is quite jarring; the health care system, particularly in the sector of mental health, can actually be quite cruel. 

People must jump through endless hoops to acquire care, while being condescended by healthcare workers or mental health professionals and being exposed to environments that are not conducive to healing (the state of psychiatric facilities is a topic begging for its own article). These issues are even more prevalent for marginalized communities, with countless examples of injustice and malpractice in the healthcare system. 

It’s ironic that those who need help the most are often dehumanized by systems that claim to be the solution. I can’t help but be disillusioned by the notion of seeking help, and resentful of any campaign that reduces such a complex issue to such a simple solution. This isn’t to disregard the campaign’s message as a whole: talking about mental health is of the utmost importance, and we do have to start somewhere. However, we also need to reflect on societal factors that contribute to mental illness—a broken system is not the solution. 

Issues with mental health advocacy do not begin or end with Bell. Bell Let’s Talk is just one example. The way that mental health is discussed points to the need for a complete reform. Though efforts have been made to destigmatize mental illness and improve access to needed services, this is only the beginning.

Sports Wrestling

The state of wrestling at Concordia

The wrestling program has always consistently been one of Concordia’s best sports programs. It’s still good, thanks to a family who found a system.

Concordia University is home to one of Canada’s top wrestling programs, thanks to elite athlete and Stingers head coach Victor Zilberman. In 1985, Zilberman obtained a Concordia sports administration diploma, and from then, he eventually earned multiple National Championship trophies while coaching the team. In addition, he’s coached the Canadian Olympic team many times over.

It was in 1977 that Zilberman founded the Montreal Wrestling Club (MWC), which has occupied the Reinitz Wrestling Centre at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA since 2001. There, some of the finest wrestlers show up, for three days every week, including Olympic and Commonwealth games gold medalist Guivi Sissaouri, and visitors from the likes of MMA legend Georges St-Pierre. 

David Zilberman, Victor’s son, takes after his father and is currently the head coach of the Stingers team, a teacher at Vanier College, and is in charge of the MWC. 

David Zilberman coaching during a tournament.
Credit: Concordia Athletics

The duo keep their eyes peeled for high-school talent across Canada to recruit to the club. If deemed fit, they will eventually end up wearing the Stingers’ maroon and gold. 

From October to February, the Stingers compete at national wrestling tournaments at least twice a month. So far this season, the team has participated in the following events; McMaster Invitational on Oct. 29, the Concordia Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Nov. 5, and the York Open on Nov 19. 

Coming up next is the University of Toronto Open on Dec 2. The weekend of Dec. 15, a few Stingers alumni will travel to Edmonton for the 2024 Olympic Canadian Team Trials. 

Everyone on the team practices for two and a half to four hours in the morning, and the same in the evening, six days a week. They all work at least one job, all while taking classes at Concordia. “Everyone’s a psycho,” said two-time Pan-American junior gold medalist Alex Moore. The star who is also on the Stingers team was elected as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament for the latest National Championships in February. Moore is currently training to qualify at the upcoming Canadian Team Trials in the 86 kg weight class. 

For MWC member Yann Heymeg, who originally played quarterback for his middle school in Saint-Césaire, which is located just west of Granby. When he suffered an injury to his throwing hand, his gym teacher who was also a wrestling coach, encouraged him to take up the sport. Heymeg would go to the MWC on Thursday evenings and by the ninth grade, he’d dropped football to pursue wrestling. 

Today, at 20 years old, Heymeg has received a scholarship to study recreation and leisure studies at Concordia after graduating from Vanier this fall semester. 

“It’s more gratifying to have an education for free when I’m working hard doing what I want,” says Heymeg, classed at 72 kg. “I give my 100 per cent when training, and I think the coach sees it.” Just this past year, he finished second in the U23 National Championships, and second in the Canada Games.

This year, the Stingers team is missing certain players in different weight classes. Only about half of both the men’s and women’s teams are filled out, so it seems that the team’s ranking has dropped over this past year. The women’s team dropped from sixth to seventh overall, and the men’s from seventh to ninth. The team, however, has hopes in first years making their debut.

Maddie Charlton is a first-year standout wrestler from Halifax, Nova Scotia who moved to Montreal a little over a year ago to train at the MWC. In the 50 kg weight class, Charlton was placed third in her first tournament with the Stingers at the Concordia Invitational, and first at the York Open. “I’m still producing results, but there’s tons of athletes here that are very, very experienced and it’s a good place for me because I’m always being challenged,” she said, impressed by the club’s talent.

Stingers player Jeremy Poirier, classed at 100 kg, is on the other end of his academic career. Onto his fifth year at Concordia, he’ll be graduating at the end of this winter semester. He won the USports National Championships this past February.

The New Brunswick native joined the MWC in 2016, after David Zilberman spotted his older brother, Geno Poirier, excelling with the University of Regina Cougars. Poirier eventually placed sixth at the National Championships. “[David] is tough, he pushes us hard, but it’s great. He shows us all the technical aspects, but he talks a lot about the mental part of the sport.”   

Poirier has ranked in the top two at the Senior Pan-American Championships for the past three years: he was placed second in 2023 in Argentina and in Mexico in 2022,  and first in 2021 in Guatemala. He and Moore won gold medals at the USports National Championships earlier this year at the University of Alberta, now having won multiple times. Poirier is aiming to fly to Edmonton for the Canadian Team Trials if his hamstring heals properly. 

Although the team isn’t in its greatest shape for now, the Zilbermans are regarded as two of the best in Canada, so the Stingers’ fate rests assured in good hands. If you wrestle in Canada, you know the Zilbermans.

Wrestlers to watch:


Maddie Charlton (50 kg)

Virginie Gascon (56 kg)

Sophia Bechard (59kg)

Alexia Sherland (83 kg)


Ryder Church (65 kg) 

Liam Menard (68 kg)

Zaur Arsagov (82 kg)

Angus Scott (90 kg)


Jade Dufour

Linda Morais

Laurence Beauregard

Amanda Savard 

Alex Moore

Frédérick Choquette

Riley Otto


Universal Basic Income could buy happiness

If implemented in Canada, this financial support program could improve the lives of all Canadians.

Anyone who says that money can’t buy happiness has likely never heard of Universal Basic Income. They’ve also probably never considered the reality of the millions of Canadians who live in extreme poverty and the measures it would take to address this issue. If implemented, this program could have far-reaching positive impacts in reducing and preventing poverty—by extension, it could improve the health, mental health and living conditions of Canadians. 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, what is Universal Basic Income? UBI—sometimes referred to as guaranteed basic income—is a no-strings-attached income program in which every Canadian above the age of 17 receives a monthly payment that is enough to cover their basic needs. This would be a direct transfer of funds regardless of income, employment status or any factor that usually determines social aid eligibility. As a result, every citizen would be given a foundation upon which to build a better life. The exact amount is unclear, but amounts cited usually seem to be around $1,000 per month. For now, talk of UBI seems to be just talk; however, the Senate Chamber is currently considering a bill that would push the finance minister to create a framework for the program. 

UBI is not a new idea, nor is it unique to Canada. United States President Richard Nixon proposed a Family Assistance Plan in 1969 that bore major resemblances to guaranteed income, and Martin Luther King Jr. said guaranteed income was the most effective way to tackle poverty. The largest North American pilot project to test the program, however, took place in the small town of Dauphin, Manitoba, from 1974 to 1979.  During those four years, every citizen was given the money they needed to survive. The results of this project, which came to be known as “Mincome,” were striking—the need for health care and mental health care declined and there was a higher graduation rate in highschools. 

With any major proposition comes concerns and criticisms. For example, why should rich people receive a handout too? And where will all this money come from? UBI Works, a platform dedicated to the program, argues that the program could be funded through higher taxes on the wealthy, including fewer tax breaks for companies, which means that wealthy people would not ultimately be beneficiaries. 

Another criticism of UBI is the “reciprocity worry,” wherein it is argued that it is unfair to reward people who are not contributing to the workforce. This is a concern especially as UBI seemingly decreases the desire and need to work. Though that may seem plausible, the fact that UBI only covers basic necessities would mean that people will continue working. The Mincome Project proved this, as only recent mothers and high school students showed a decline in labour. Providing a liveable baseline does not promote laziness, it only gives people the basics that everyone deserves. What’s more, UBI may become a necessity as AI reshapes the job market.

With that in mind, we can also begin to reconsider how a capitalist society has shaped our values in regards to work. The reciprocity worry hinges on the idea that a person’s usefulness is contingent on how much they work and fails to acknowledge non-remunerated contributions such as caring for children. UBI would help us grow toward a world in which “work” is redefined and life is not centered around labour. 

This is especially important when hard work doesn’t always pay off. Approximately 3.7 million Canadians live in poverty, according to a 2021 Canadian Government report. This translates to roughly 10% of the population who do not have the means to cover all their basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and shelter. As someone who grew up in a household below the poverty line and who is lucky enough to no longer be in that situation, I understand the impacts of poverty as well as the importance of social assistance. There’s a misconception that poor people just don’t work hard enough, but that’s simply untrue. The reality is that the poverty cycle is near impossible to break, and every situation varies immensely. 

It also must be noted that poverty disproportionately affects marginalized groups such as BIPOC, members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, immigrants and refugees, radicalized people, and single-parent families. Poverty is an issue of human rights.

Take a moment to imagine a world with UBI. Lower stress will lead to lower rates of depression and substance abuse. Students can focus on their studies. People will have more time to devote to their families, to their hobbies, and to following career paths they actually enjoy. Small businesses will pop up. People will travel more. Pipe dreams will become possible. 

This program may not solve all problems, but it has the power to drastically improve lives. Everyone has the right to achieve a proper standard of living without fighting for it everyday. Universal Basic Income is just one step, but it is a big one. 


LGBTQ+ inclusive education must be mandatory

Young people deserve an education that reflects who they are.

This year was filled with rallies across Canada for and against LGBTQ+ school policies. Hundreds protested in downtown Montreal in September, followed by an LGBTQ+ counter-protest an hour later. Most people marching against were parents who said, “Leave our kids alone.” Many religious and conservative parents fear that their children might potentially be influenced by their surroundings. What parents have to understand is that their beliefs will not change their child’s sexual orientation, and LGBTQ+ education is essential.

I was always neutral regarding this issue, but it wasn’t until my professor screened the documentary Abu: Father by Arshad Khan last week that I understood the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusive education. 

When Khan was a child in Pakistan, he was molested by a close family member and never understood that what had happened was wrong. Khan later discovered that he is more attracted to boys than girls. Considering that this was taking place in a Muslim country that condemns homosexuality, Khan internally struggled with the conflict between what his dad expected of him and his sexuality. 

Khan did not have anyone that he could open up to, which led to feelings of confusion, loneliness, and depression. After moving to Canada in the 1990s, Khan slowly started integrating into Canadian culture and finally found other gay friends that made him feel accepted and understood. Khan’s homosexuality was a hard pill to swallow, and it took him years to reconcile with his dad. 

Khan’s story demonstrates precisely why schools should educate children about their sexuality. People who belong to the LGBTQ+ community often struggle with discrimination, which can lead to mental health crises such as depression and suicide. Educating them at an early age can help them avoid confusion and isolation, and help them acknowledge their true selves.

One thing that came up in the documentary was how Khan was constantly bullied at school for being gay. I believe that bullying comes from a lack of empathy and understanding. Having an LGBTQ+ inclusive education will introduce everyone to LGBTQ+ identities and the experiences that come with them. 

It is our responsibility to accept and respect each other. We can make LGBTQ+ people feel welcome by taking a stand against bullying, being compassionate and simply loving them for who they are as people. For instance, students’ chosen pronouns should be respected without condemnation. Restricting young people from being who they are will cause anxiety and depression in the long run.

Schools are meant to be a safe space for everyone, regardless of their background. Educators must seek to help children feel secure in their identities rather than suppressing and rejecting them. It is time to update the school curriculum and stop discrimination against what is considered abnormal in the eyes of society. In the end, every child will end up becoming who they truly are, so we should help them get there.


Concordia’s Indian international students forgotten in India-Canada Crisis

As diplomatic tensions rise, the largest demographic of international students in Canada are caught in the crosshairs

The recent rift between India and Canada has brought uncertainty and chaos for both Indian international students at Concordia and the university’s Sikh community.

On Sept. 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of involvement in the assassination of Canadian citizen and Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries have rapidly deteriorated, and India has halted visa applications for Canadian nationals in retaliation. 

Angad Singh Malhotra, president of Concordia’s Sikh Student Association (SSA), said that over the last two weeks, a number of students have reached out to the SSA for help and advice regarding the situation.

“Yesterday somebody was telling me about how their parents got their visa refused because of the issues that are going on,” said Malhotra. “And they fear that a lot of them who are engaged with the community, if they are vocal, will get the refusal to go back to India.”

These concerns come as Indian government officials and media outlets portray Canada as a breeding ground for the Khalistani movement, which strives to establish a sovereign state for the Sikh population in northern India. While militant factions within the Khalistani movement exist in South Asia, the overwhelming majority of Khalistani activists adhere to non-violent principles.

For Sikh Canadians, like Singh, a Concordia graduate who asked his firstname not to be disclosed, the effects of these allegations are having deep reaching impacts into their personal lives. Following Trudeau’s announcement, Singh said he’s getting calls from his family back in India concerned about his well-being, owing to the spread of misinformation by the Indian media.

“They tell me that [based on] what Indian news channels show us, you guys are in deep trouble,” he said. “The Canadian government is kicking out all Indians or the Canadian government is kicking out all Sikhs.” 

According to Julian Spencer-Churchill, associate professor in Concordia’s political science department, the proliferation of fake news stems from the consolidation of Indian media under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These developments stem from a rise in the far right Hindu nationalism in the country over the last decade.

Indian students comprise over 40 per cent of international students studying in Canada, making the group the largest demographic of international students in the country. Nevertheless, the group suffers a lack of representation in both countries, according to Spencer-Churchill. 

“Indian international students in Canada are victims here,” said Spencer-Churchill. 

Concordia has made no formal announcement regarding the ongoing India-Canada crisis. As far as Malhotra knows, no one from the university’s administration has reached out to the SSA.

Spencer-Churchill recommended that the Indian and Sikh students lobby Concordia’s administration to allow for special accommodations, such as being able to attend classes remotely, until visa restrictions are lifted. However, he predicts that any visa complications that Indian international students are facing will be short-lived, due to the economic impact that these policies will have on educational institutions.

“The universities want money,” he said. “These people [Indian international students] are bringing their own money in many cases, […] and where they’re not like PhD students, industry is going to probably sponsor them. So there’s no advantage for Canada to keep the system stuck.”


Montreal turns orange on the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Activists say there is still a lot to be done to decolonize our institutions.

Last Saturday, on Sept. 30, wave after wave of orange swept across the streets of Montreal, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

This day is one of commemoration for the Indigenous children who were taken away from their families to be sent to residential schools, many of which never came home. At the march on Saturday, Indigenous activists and allies honoured these children and called on governments and institutions to do more to decolonize their work. 

Kai and Mia Fischlin, two sisters of Inuvialuit and Dene descent, were present at the march. Mia was the first in her family to get involved in the activist movement and had invited Kai to join her at the march.

Kai is a Concordia student in biology, and Mia is an alumni who graduated in human relations. According to the former, it’s important for these marches to continue, year after year, especially with the continued discovery of unmarked graves throughout Canada. “And there’s still a lot to fix within the communities, the Indigenous communities all over Canada. I don’t think [the marches] are ever gonna stop until we see real change,” she said.

“Colonization didn’t happen long ago, and it’s still happening,” added Mia. “Me and my sister, we’re the first generation in our family to not go to the residential schools since it started. There’s just so much change that needs to happen, and it needs to come from everyone. It’s a lot on Indigenous people’s backs to be the only ones pushing forward, so we need everyone’s help.”

National Truth and Reconciliation Day was implemented by the federal government in 2021 as one of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In response to these calls to action, Concordia University published its Indigenous Directions Action Plan in 2019. Manon Tremblay, senior director of Concordia’s Office of Indigenous Directions, is happy with the progress Concordia has made in the last four years, but believes there is still much to be done. “We can’t sit on our laurels,” she said. “We have to continue that momentum, and we have to be able to deliver on these recommendations and these promises.”

Concordia currently has 12 Indigenous faculty members and seven Indigenous staff members—including Tremblay, who is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Tremblay believes continuous action is necessary to decolonize Concordia and make it more than “inclusive.”

“Personally, I don’t like the word ‘inclusion,’” explained Tremblay. “I find that ‘inclusion’ is a word that basically says that it’s still their house. And we’re still guests in that house, and we still have to adhere to their rules. What we’re looking to do really is foster a sense of belonging.”

Brina Rosenberg and Meika Blayone, two friends who attended the march, believe that the educational sector plays a major role when it comes to leading the movement of decolonization. 

“Knowing that the research that you can do includes oral storytelling as a resource that counts is super important, and I feel like that’s missing in a lot of university courses,” said Rosenberg. “Especially in history, knowing that oral history is just as important as written history is extremely important.” 

Blayone, who is Metis from Saskatchewan, believes Indigenous realities are erased from educational institutions. According to her, language laws in Quebec make this even worse. “French is super important, but where’s the Indigenous languages? Why are we not learning those? Why are they not an official government language?” she asked. 

Kai and Mia Fischlin encouraged Concordia students to support Indigenous communities whenever and wherever they can, even if it just means sharing a post on social media. 

“And if you see some racism going on, don’t be afraid to call them out, cause it’s a lot for Indigenous people to always fight for themselves as well, and feel alone,” said Mia.

Protesters gather through the streets of Montreal for Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Photos by Marieke Glorieux-Stryckman / The Concordian

Four decades since the start of the HIV pandemic: Then versus now

now over four decades since the start of the HIV health crisis, how is it being handled in Canada today?

During the summer of 1981, a headline from The New York Times warned people about a “rare cancer” found in young, healthy gay men. Nine months later, the first case of this mysterious illness was reported in Canada. This turned out not to be cancer at all but human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and could infect people of any age, race, and sexual orientation.

In 1983 alone, there were an estimated 3,000 to 7,000 new cases of HIV in Canada. Nearly 40 years later, there were approximately 1,520 new cases of HIV in 2020, and 1,722 new cases in 2021, according to reports by the Government of Canada.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) established the 90-90-90 targets to tackle this pandemic. Their aim is to ensure that 90 per cent of people with HIV know their status, 90 per cent of those who know their status are receiving treatment, and 90 per cent  of those who are on treatment have an undetectable viral load. 

Recent research published by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has found that people with undetectable levels of HIV cannot transmit the virus through sex.

Canada has made significant progress since the beginning of the HIV pandemic. In 2018, 87 per cent of people with HIV knew their infection status, 85 per cent of those who knew their status were taking treatment, and 94 per cent of those taking treatment for HIV achieved viral suppression. 

Despite this progress, Canada still has much to improve on. Montreal did not sign on to the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the AIDS Epidemic, which put forth a new 95-95-95 target. As a result, HIV/AIDS organizations within the city feel as though Montreal is not doing enough to combat the pandemic. 

Another highly contested issue is Canada’s laws on HIV non-disclosure, which state that an individual’s HIV-positive status must be disclosed to their partner prior to any sexual activity that poses a “realistic possibility of transmission,” or risk being charged with sexual assault. This law has faced significant backlash due to overcriminalization, particularly among marginalized communities. 

Furthermore, many marginalized groups continue to struggle disproportionately compared to the rest of Canada. According to the Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative, in 2019, African, Caribbean and Black women represented 61 per cent of new diagnoses among women in Ontario. Out of 169 women, 21 per cent were reported to use injection drugs. 

A cohort study published by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network highlighted that individuals who experienced intimate violence from a partner were up to 50 per cent more likely to contract HIV. 

In 2018, the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange reported that only 78 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada who inject drugs were aware of their HIV status, with 83 per cent of those who knew their status receiving treatment, while only 64 per cent of those on treatment had an undetectable viral load.

Marginalized groups encounter barriers to access to treatment care for multiple reasons: the costs, the types of clinics and services available and the stigmas related to alcohol and drug use, to name a few. 

HIV organizations that provide support services witness this disparity first-hand. Kimberly Wong, the programs development manager at AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM), believes community organizations need more funding to help marginalized people living with HIV. 

“There are major shortages of resources and many post-lockdown crises that our sector has to deal with, so having more money to hire skilled workers would help a lot,” she said. 

ACCM provides a wide array of other services to the community. “Currently, we offer rapid HIV testing by appointment,” said Wong. They also offer one-on-one support for those living with HIV or hepatitis C, including referrals to other resources and individual counseling. 

For those interested in volunteering at ACCM, you can see their list of volunteer opportunities here

For more information regarding other support services, such as STI testing available in the Montreal area, including Concordia University, please refer to the list below.

Concordia University 

514-828-2424 ext. 3565

CLSC Metro (next to Sir George Williams campus)

1801 de Maisonneuve West

AIDS Community Care Montreal

2075 Rue Plessis



2055 Mansfield 




Montreal – Berri-UQAM 1485 Saint-Hubert Street 

Montreal – Crescent 2121 rue Crescent, Suite 2117

Quebec – 2360 Ch Ste-Foy, Suite G031

Sherbrooke – 30 Rue Marchant 

L’Actuel Medical Clinic 

1001 de Maisonneuve Est 



Northern Perspectives: The Agreement that Changed It All

Podcast Producer Cedric Gallant dives into the deep history behind the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), where the Crees and Inuit went head-to-head against the Government of Quebec.

Briefs News

Canada removes interest on federal student loan payments 

Employment and Social Development Canada announced updates to help students repay their loans

On Nov. 1, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion announced changes to the Canada Student Financial Assistance (CSFA) Program’s Repayment Assistance Plan to support young Canadians in better starting their careers. The changes are as follows: 

The zero-payment income threshold for Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans will increase from $25,000  to $40,000. 

Payment is not expected until borrowers are earning an annual income of at least $40,000. 

The threshold will vary based on household size. 

The cap on monthly affordable payments will be lowered from 20 per cent to 10 per cent of a borrower’s household income.

Monthly affordable payments will be reduced to ensure that nobody “has to pay more than they can reasonably afford.”

These changes are expected to affect approximately 180,000 students each year. However, these updates will not be implemented in Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut since they do not participate in the CSFA Program. However, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia will also introduce the same changes to their Repayment Assistance Plans.

Photo by Lily Cowper


The Check-In Podcast by Emily Pasquarelli #1 – “It wasn’t your fault”

Welcome to the Check-In Podcast, hosted by Emily Pasquarelli, a first year journalism student and a huge advocate for mental health. The Check-in Podcast will be a special series produced by The Concordian where Emily displays the importance of checking in with your close ones.

On this episode, Emily talks with Tyrelle Anasara-Diab about his experience with Quebec’s foster care system, and the effect it had on his mental health. He shares how he got through it, and the important people that helped him along the way…

Artwork by James Fay


Northern Perspectives : The Northernmost Canadian Tire

Welcome to The Podcast. Cedric Gallant will produce and host this podcast alongside our Section Editors every week. The shows will rotate weekly to cover topics from each section of our newspaper!

This week’s show, Northern Perspectives, was produced by Cedric Gallant. Tune in for future episodes of Northern Perspectives, where Cedric shares exclusive interviews with members of Nunavik’s remote but thriving indigenous community.

In this episode:

For our Northern Perspectives segment this week, Cedric Gallant followed Chris York, Nick York and David Pearson on their adventure salvaging a van engine from Kuujjuaq’s dump, nicknamed the Canadian Tire.

In this story, listeners get a look into Nunavik’s mechanic world, and its unique circumstances. In addition to the podcast is a series of pictures depicting that day, found below.

Thanks for listening, and make sure to tune in next week!

Student Life

Your summer 2022 budget travel guide

 Here are a few tips, tricks, and resources to make your summer a memorable and adventurous one!

Not sure what you’re going to do with your summer? We’ve compiled some cheap options and resources that you can use this summer that are student discount friendly.

Travelling may be difficult with COVID-19 restrictions, so all of the destinations listed are open to vaccinated travellers leaving from Canada as of April 14.

But first, here are the tools you will need to find the best prices for accommodation, flights, and transportation.



To find the cheapest flight on any airline to any destination, sites like FlightHub and KAYAK are the places to go. Some trips may also have special call-in prices that could be lower than what other sites may estimate. Just remember that these are third-party agencies, so getting reimbursed for a cancelled trip may prove more difficult.



Finding a place to stay depends on the budget of the traveller. For those feeling adventurous or on an extreme budget, the website Couchsurfing allows travellers to stay on a local’s couch completely free.

If that idea is a little intimidating, hostels are also a great option to meet other travellers. Hostelworld is the one-stop site with millions of reviews, and finding a hostel in any city with it is a breeze.

If you prefer privacy, Airbnb or Trivago are also great options for private accommodation like hotels or apartments, at a premium. Although, depending on the size of your group, Airbnb may end up costing much less than a hostel stay.



Depending on where you decide to go, public transit and walking is always the cheapest option, but if you have to hop on a train or want to rent a car, here are some great resources: HappyRail (Europe), Eurail (Europe), and KAYAK (global).

It’s also important to remember that Uber is not global, and if you’re somewhere where taking a cab is a consideration, it’s important to research average prices beforehand — don’t let yourself be the tourist that pays triple what they should. Also, remember city taxis are not always safe at each destination. A quick Reddit search should help you learn from other tourists and even some locals.

With gas prices being at an all-time high, the classic summer road trip may not be the cheapest option. Instead, check out train prices for super cheap round-trip prices this summer:

(prices vary by date of departure) 


Montreal to Ottawa: $74+

Montreal to Quebec City: $76+

Montreal to Toronto: $98+


For those wanting to catch some rays this summer, here are plenty of cheap flights to beaches to choose from:

All prices listed were found using Flighthub for the months of May, June and July.


Miami, USA: $350+

With plenty of beaches to choose from, Miami is a great city to explore this summer with its vibrant nightlife. You can grab a room in a hostel for as low as $25+/night.


Cancún, Mexico: $500+

Remember to pack your sunscreen when you go, because the summer heat in Cancun stays around 30 degrees. Even though the heat will get to you, you won’t have to sweat the cost with hostels being as low as $9+ a night.


Montego Bay, Jamaica: $500+

The white sand beaches and crisp blue waters of Montego Bay are a great place to spend your summer lounging around or exploring. Hostels start at $25+/night.


Guatemala City, Guatemala: $500+

Guatemala City has a mix of great food, jungle temples, secret coves, and colourful neighbourhoods for you to explore this summer for cheap with an average cost of $39+/day including hostels priced at $10+/night.


San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica: $600+

Costa Rica offers plenty to do, whether you want to sit and lounge the whole trip or hike up an active volcano. Both San Jose and Liberia have hostels priced at $13+/night.


Bogotá, Colombia: $650+

If you want to have a mix of city and jungle, Bogotá is the place for you. With plenty of historic sites and culture to experience, there will never be a dull moment on your trip. Hostels are cheap starting at $5+/night.


Belize City, Belize: $750+

If you’re looking to catch some waves and surf this summer, Belize may be the destination for you. The city has an array of activities to choose from, from exploring caves to whitewater rafting — it’s perfect for the active traveller. With hostels starting at $35+/ night, this destination is the most expensive option.


Leaving the tropics, here are some cheap flights to Europe where you could either choose to stay or grab a cheap train or flight with Ryanair or easyJet to anywhere from North Africa to the Middle East and Asia.


Dublin, Ireland: $550+

This summer you can experience the vibrant Irish nightlife or explore medieval castles and the beautiful landscapes featured in shows like Game of Thrones. Hostels start at $28+/night and one way flights out of the country for as low as $22+.


Lisbon, Portugal: $700+

A beautiful city to explore on foot, Lisbon offers travellers a perfect European experience for cheap. Hostels start at $18+/night and flights to other cities start at $41+.


Paris, France: $700+

The daily cost of living in Paris makes this one of the most expensive destinations on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to travel to on a budget. Parisian nightlife and art make the city a great destination for those who want to gain some European culture this summer. Hostels start at $26+/ night, and this is a great city to travel from with flights out of the country as low as $12+.


The world is back open for you to explore after the last two years of COVID-19, so take advantage of some cheap destinations this summer and go somewhere new!

It’s important to remember that you do not need to have a lot of money to explore the world. Just because you are on a budget does not mean you have to settle for a staycation this summer!

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