|For a student organisation to be successful at influencing government policy it must produce quality research, develop relationships with government, and demonstrate that there is public support for its issues.
Thorough, accurate and in-depth research is required to justify any proposal presented to government. The Canadian Federation of Students employs full-time researchers across Canada who study and prepare analyses of government policies and trends within post-secondary education, and develop alternatives to government policy. The Federation's work on discrediting the 10-year prohibition on student loan bankruptcies is recognised as having set the standard for research on the issue.
The primary purpose of the Federation is to represent students' issues and concerns to government. Regular contact with elected and non-elected officials and bureaucrats is how the Canadian Federation of Students' message is conveyed to government.
In Canada, most post-secondary education financing is provided by the federal government but is administered exclusively at the provincial level. Government policies and priorities determine the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada. Thus, the Federation employs a government relations strategy that addresses both federal and provincial representatives.
Over the years, the Federation has become a strong presence on Parliament Hill and in provincial legislatures across Canada. Federation representatives meet regularly with federal MPs, other government officials and representatives from all political parties in Ottawa and at the provincial level. In addition, the Federation is frequently invited to make presentations to government committees and task forces.
Of course, regular meetings with government and the very best research will have little impact unless the government believes a message has widespread support. The Federation demonstrates this support through the active participation of its members and the general public in activities ranging from petition drives to mass mobilisations. These campaigns raise public awareness of the issues, and correspondingly affect the decisions and policies of government.