YES CFS2018-10-14T14:18:48+00:00


About the CFS

Brief Statement on the Referendum

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is a membership-driven organization; its bylaws, policies and budgets are voted on at General Meetings by the members. Each member students’ union can send representatives to these meetings. To ensure each member union can participate in all decision-making processes, each member union can send one person to all of our meetings at no charge.

Through the General Meetings, the CFS bylaws are created and modified by member unions. The bylaws outline how and when students can join or members can leave the organization. This is referred to as certification (joining) and decertification (leaving).

In order for the general members at a students’ union to join or leave the Federation, a vote must happen, referred to as a referendum. There is a minimum number of students who have to vote in the referendum (quorum). This minimum is based on the total membership of the students’ union.

Before voting happens there is a campaign period. The CFS will have volunteers and representatives talking to members on why they should vote “YES” and the benefits of continued membership in your Federation. This website is part of the VOTE YES campaign to provide awareness and education for members before voting.

Be sure to read more about the VOTE YES campaign, and if you have any questions or would like to join the campaign, email

Voting Dates:
October 17 – October 19
9:00AM – 6:00PM

Poll Station Locations:
​University Center Atrium
Loeb Building Tunnel
Steacie Building
Residence Commons Tunnel
Minto Building Lobby

History of the CFS

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) was formed in 1981 to provide students with an effective and united voice, both provincially and nationally, to advocate for student needs. At the time, students recognized that to be truly effective in representing their collective interests to the federal and provincial governments, it was vital to unite.

The CFS is YOUR national students’ union and unites students from across the country who are either domestic or international, full-time or part-time, or undergraduate or graduate. For over 30 years, the CFS has been dedicated to improving the lives of students by defending student rights through advocacy, lobbying, campaigns and cost-saving services.

Each member students’ union of the CFS has a member local number. The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is Local 1 of the Canadian Federation of Students. This means that CUSA was a founding member – in fact the founding meeting of the CFS was held at Carleton University in Robertson Hall from October 14-19, 1981.

Member List

View Full Member List


Each member students’ union has an equal voice in setting the priorities, campaigns and policies of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), including how funds are spent. Each member students’ union can attend decision-making spaces of the CFS and participate in debates that focus on campaigns, services, bylaws and policy amendments.

Here is the breakdown of how CFS representation works, both at the national level and in Ontario:

The Carleton University Student’s Association (CUSA)  has a seat on the Ontario Executive Committee that meets at least four times annually, among other meetings of the Federation.


Click to view our list of FAQ

Federation Campaigns

Campaigns and advocacy are important pillars of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). The CFS brings people together across campuses and the country to build an organization that advocates for and defends the rights of students in an effort to improve access to and quality of our post-secondary education. Below are some of the Federation’s current campaigns:

Federation Services

The CFS provides members with cost-saving services that evolve and develop based on YOUR input. These services are created to benefit both individual members and also member students’ unions.

By participating, students can immediately offset the high cost of education through savings on day-to-day purchases, and develop skills and tools to benefit their time as a student, here are some of those services:

Skills Development Symposium

The Skills Development Symposium provides all members an opportunity to participate in a number of skills-based workshops on topics such as events organizing, campaign development, human resources and finances. This event brings together over 300 students and is open to general students, volunteers, clubs and orientation coordinators. The CFS provides this training weekend at no cost to attendees as long as they participate in at least 75% of the workshops offered.

Download the 2018 Skills Symposium Guide

Digital ISIC

The  International Student Identity Card (ISIC)  functions  dually  as  both  an  internationally  recognized  student  identity  card  as  well  as  a  travel  discount  card.  Students  worldwide  use  the  card  for  exclusive  access  to  products,  services  and  experiences  at  reduced  rates  in  over  130  countries. The  ISIC  incorporates  over 150,000  discounts  that  help  alleviate  costs  in  services  such  as  travel,  restaurants  and  cafés,  entertainment,  museums,  electronics,  apparel  and  much  more.

While the ISIC is typically $20, members of the Canadian Federation of Students recieve the ISIC for FREE as a benefit of membership.

Visit for discounts on Adidas, Garage, Dynamite, Via Rail, Greyhound, and more!

The National Student Health Network

The National Student Health Network is the Federation-coordinated, buying program for health and dental insurance. The primary purpose of the program is to use the collective expertise and combined purchasing power of participating students’ unions to secure lower rates and better coverage for individual members.

Through the cooperative services model offered by the Federation, students’ unions have direct control over the services offered by their health and dental plans. It was this control that allowed the Network to be among the first providers to regularly cover oral contraception and the first to offer spousal benefits to same-sex partners.

Through the network, students are able to access the discounted dental network and vision network. Members’ plans are covered by Green Shield Canada, the country’s only national not-for-profit insurer.

Handbook Dayplanner

By purchasing in bulk, students can buy high-quality materials at substantially lower prices than any campus organization could secure individually. The handbook service provides member students’ unions fully-customizable student agendas that use post-consumer recycled paper, recycled plastic coils and vegetable-based ink. Through this service, students’ unions can purchase high-quality, environmentally-friendly handbooks.

Ethical Purchasing Network

By purchasing in bulk, students can buy high-quality materials at substantially lower prices than a campus organization could secure individually. This means we can access ethically-produced, union-made products at affordable prices. We work directly with manufacturers to bring workers and students closer together so that we know exactly how our materials are made.

Through this service, we directly impact the shape of the promotional materials industry. When we purchase union or cooperatively-made materials, other companies feel obligated to offer products that are made under ethical conditions and respect workers’ rights to organize. This service is available for students’ unions, faculty societies and campus groups that are members of the CFS.

Working Together


member student associations


per semester fee, one of the lowest fees at Carleton University


savings for an ISIC card which is FREE as a benefit of membership


savings to file your taxes for free as a student


plus meetings each year with Members of Parliament, Senators and Members of Provincial Parliament.

The CFS has constituency groups and caucuses that recognize the unique identities of how members interact with their academic experiences. These groups have elected representatives and sometimes meet outside General Meeting spaces to develop specific strategies on how to organize, create campaigns and support each other during their academic experience and beyond.

In addition, the Federation does advocacy and lobbying of student issues and demands to the federal, provincial and municipal government.

Circle of First Nation Métis and Inuit Students

The National Circle of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students is the only national organization of Indigenous students, representing thousands of Indigenous post-secondary students across this side of Turtle Island. Circle meetings are open to all self-identified Indigenous students and present a unique opportunity for Indigenous students to meet and form lasting relationships with other Indigenous students from coast to coast.

Circle of First Nation Métis and Inuit Students

During the summit, delegates discussed the history and evolution of the Circle within the student movement, and Circle business such as budget, campaigns and lobbying priorities. Out of these meetings the Circle has developed the ReconciliAction campaign, Not Your Stereotype campaign and coordinated initiatives in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Racialized and Indigenous Student Experience

The Racialized and Indigenous Student Experience (RISE) Summit is a biannual event that gathers close to 300 Racialized and Indigenous students from across the country to share their experiences and build a national vision to fight racism and colonialism, not only in the education system, but also in society.

Students who attend have an opportunity to take part in workshops, listen to speakers, share their experiences and plan actions for a common vision to combat racism and colonialism within our post-secondary institutions and communities.

Rise Summit Schedule

International Students’ Lobby Week

This past year, the CFS engaged in a federal lobby week with Members of Parliament to specifically address the issues faced by international students in Canada.

The Federation met with members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to present proposals on ending unfair differential fees, public health coverage from coast to coast, and an expedited pathway to citizenship and permanent residence for students wishing to continue working and living in Canada.

Download the Lobby Document

General Lobby Week

Every year, members of the CFS are invited to meet with federal and provincial decision-makers during our national and provincial lobby weeks.

At Lobby Week 2018, students from across the country met with almost 100 Members of Parliament and Senators from across the political spectrum and were able to have productive discussions and obtain commitments of support.

See our fully costed list of recommendations by reading our lobby documents!

Download the Ontario Lobby Document

Download the National Lobby Document 


With strength in numbers, working together as members of the CFS and alongside faculty, coalition partners and allies, students have won:


With strength in numbers, working together as members of the CFS and alongside faculty, coalition partners and allies, students have won:


October 3

$500 million starting in 2020 to help renew and modernize Ontario’s University and College Campuses.

October 4

$2.2 billion over three years for free daycare for children from age 2 1/2 to kindergarten.

October 4

OSAP application will implement a reduced reliance on expected parental and spousal contributions.

October 4

$106 billion on transit and transportation infrastructure over the next ten years.

October 4

$17 billion over four years in funding for mental health and addictions services across the province, including $11.6 million for campus mental health promotion workers.

October 4

$79 million allocated for cultural support services for Indigenous communities.

October 4

Funding for 10 Indigenous organizations to hire Indigenous program coordinators for cultural mental health programming.

October 4

Up to $5.5 million over five years for a harmonized National Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions.

October 4

$1.7 billion over five years for fundamental research, which includes $1.2 billion in funding to the three granting councils, new funding for Canada Research Chairs, and other programs.

View All Victories


Standing Resolutions
Standing Resolutions
Ontario Bylaws
National Bylaws
Operational Policies
Ontario Policies
National Policies
Budget for the last year
Ontario Budgets
National Budgets
Audits for the last 3 years
Ontario Audit 2017
Ontario Audit 2016
Ontario Audit 2015
National Audit 2017
National Audit 2017 – Services
National Audit 2016
National Audit 2016 – Services
National Audit 2016 – Combined
Annual Report for the last year
Ontario Annual Report
National Annual Report

Get In Touch

338 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 0J9
    Tel: 613.232.7394
    Fax: 613.232.0276

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