The Canadian Federation of Students

The Canadian
Federation of Students
Group of students smiling

Formed in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is a bilingual national union, composed of over 530,000 students from more than 60 university and college students’ unions across Canada. 

Group of young activists with megaphone

This is your student

Use your voice

Our Federation provides students from across the country with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally. We create space and foster opportunities for students to join together in creating lasting change and winning victories, both on and off campus.

Because universities and colleges are funded primarily by the federal government and administered by provincial governments, the policies and priorities of both levels of government determine the accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada. Tuition fee levels, student financial assistance programs, Indigenous student funding, and funding for research are all set directly or indirectly by both levels of government. 

No individual students’ union — no matter how big or active — has the resources or the political leverage on their own to effectively influence the post-secondary education policies of the provincial and federal governments. It’s also more cost-effective for a large number of students’ unions to pool their resources and to work in partnership than for each to undertake this work alone.

Through our Federation, students’ unions collectively pool their resources to provide student-owned and operated services such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and the Ethical Purchasing Network, both designed to save students money.

Students’ union members have a say in setting the policies, direction and priorities of our Federation, including how funds are spent. All major decisions are made at provincial and national general meetings held annually. All students’ unions are able to send one (1) delegate for free to ensure participation is accessible for every students’ union, regardless of size or location.

Our Principles


Democratic and Cooperative

To organize students on a democratic, co-operative basis in advancing our own interests and in advancing the interests of our community;




Share Experiences and Ideas

To provide a common framework within which students can communicate, exchange information, and share experience, skills and ideas;




Effective Distribution of Resources

To ensure the effective use and distribution of the resources of the student movement, while maintaining growth and development of student organizations




Bring Students Together for Change

To bring students together to discuss and to achieve necessary educational, administrative or legislative change wherever decision-making affects students




Facilitate Community with Our Peers

To facilitate co-operation among students in organizing services that develop a sense of community with our peers




Advocate for student desires

To articulate the real desire of students to fulfill the duties, and be accorded the rights of citizens in our society and in the international community




Education accessible for all

To achieve a system of post-secondary education that is accessible to all, of high quality, nationally planned, recognizes the legitimacy of student representation, and the validity of student rights