Elections and Referenda

Every year during the GSA General Election, graduate students at the University of Alberta cast votes to elect fellow graduate students to five Directly-Elected Officer positions: President, Vice-President Academic, Vice-President External, Vice-President Labour, and Vice-President Student Services. These student executives represent graduate students on committees and councils across campus and to all levels of government. Graduate students also elect ten Councillors-at-Large, who sit on GSA Council and represent all University of Alberta graduate students. 

GSA Referenda take place in years when graduate students are asked to vote on key issues. Past referenda have resulted in the implementation and/or continuation of graduate student services such as the GSA Health and Dental Plan, the Graduate Student Assistance Plan (GSAP), and the U-Pass program, as well as the creation of the GSA Dedicated Fee which enables graduate students to support the on-campus radio station, CJSR. 

2021

In 2021, graduate students will have the opportunity to not only elect the five Directly-Elected Officers and ten Councillors-at-Large as part of the GSA General Election, but they will also have the chance to vote on the possible continuation and changes to two essential services: the Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) and the Graduate Student Assistance Program (GSAP). These services were established by referendum and their continuation is dependent on the outcome of their respective referenda. 

2021 GSA General Election

What's at Stake?

The GSA is led by a team of student executives, collectively and formally known as the GSA Directly-Elected Officers. The team is comprised of the President, Vice-President Academic, Vice-President External, Vice-President Labour, and Vice-President Student Services. The graduate students serving in these positions are elected each year in February in the GSA General Election to serve a one-year term (1 May – 30 April). These student executives actively engage with stakeholders and advocate for over 8,000 of their fellow graduate students about important matters (like tuition, funding, and supports for graduate students) through major University governing bodies and meetings with senior administration and government.

Without them, graduate students would not have a figurative seat at the table of the important decision-making bodies at the University, nor would they have access to essential services like the GSA Health and Dental Plan, the U-Pass, or GSA grants, awards, and bursaries.

Should I Get Involved?

Short answer? Yes!

As a graduate student, you have the opportunity to elect your graduate student leaders and you should make your voice heard through your vote.

But that's not all! Graduate students can also make the choice to put their names forward for election as any one of these student leaders. Remember, the GSA President and Vice-Presidents are all graduate students just like you who have chosen to dedicate a portion of their time and energy as they pursue their degrees to the betterment of their peers' graduate student experience at the U of A. Take the first step and "Discover Governance".

The GSA Chief Returning Officer (CRO), who oversees the GSA General Election and Referenda, will email all graduate students about the 2021 GSA General Election and Referenda beginning in late January 2021, but don't hesitate to contact us at gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca if you have any questions. 

Timeline

 

Monday, 25 January 2021 at 8:30 AM (MST)

GSA General Election Nomination Period Opens

  • The nomination period will last at least fourteen (14) calendar days, from 25 January 2021 to 9 February 2021.
  • Nomination forms may be requested electronically from gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca.  

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 at 12:00 PM (MST)

GSA General Election Nomination Period Closes

  • Completed nomination forms should be emailed to gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca.
  • Late or incomplete nomination forms will not be accepted.
  • Once submitted, nomination forms will be verified and signed by the CRO or the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) and an electronic signed copy will be emailed to the candidate.
  • Once the CRO verifies a nomination form, candidates will be listed on the GSA website and will be invited to submit a bio/resume and photo to be posted on the GSA website as soon as they are received and after the start of the campaign period.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 at 1:00 PM (MST)

Mandatory GSA General Election All-Candidates Meeting: Held Via Zoom

  • Attendance at the All-Candidates Meeting is mandatory and the link to participate in the Zoom meeting (held concurrently with the Meeting of the Campaign Representatives, below), as well as associated meeting materials, will be sent to all candidates following the close of the nomination period.
  • Failure to attend without adequate prior notification of at least one (1) hour to the CRO is grounds for disqualification.
  • A scribe will be present at the All-Candidates Meeting and, shortly after the meeting, notes will be distributed to all candidates.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 at 12:00 AM (MST)

GSA General Election Campaign Period Begins

  • The campaign period will last at least seven (7) calendar days and will begin no earlier than the day following the All-Candidates Meeting.
  • The campaign period will run from 10 February 2021 to 25 February 2021. This includes the two (2) day voting period. 

Monday, 15 February 2021 at 1:00 PM

Deadline for Forum Video Waiver Forms and Confirmation of Attendance at the GSA General Election Forum

The deadline to receive GSA General Election candidate forum video waiver forms and confirmation of attendance at the forum is 1:00 PM on Monday, 15 February 2021. Candidates who have not submitted a forum video waiver form and confirmed their attendance will be assumed to be not participating in the forum.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021 at 1:00 PM

Deadline for Posting of Bios/Resumes and Photos of GSA General Election Candidates on the GSA Website

  • The deadline to receive GSA General Election candidate bios/resumes and photos to post on the GSA website is 1:00 PM on Wednesday, 17 February 2021.
  • If a candidate elects not to provide a bio/resume, it will be stated as such on the website.

Monday, 22 February 2021 at 12:00 PM (MST)

GSA General Election Forum

  • Candidates’ pre-meeting is scheduled for 11:30 AM (MST)
  • An online (via Zoom) GSA General Election candidates’ forum will be hosted, open to all graduate students to attend. A recording of the forum will be posted on the GSA website.
  • Candidates are asked to attend a pre-meeting at 11:30 AM via Zoom with the moderator and CRO in advance of the forum.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)

GSA General Election Voting Period Opens

  • The voting period will last forty-eight (48) hours from 10 AM on Tuesday, 23 February to 10 AM on Thursday, 25 February 2021.
  • Campaigning is allowed during the voting period.

 

Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)

General Election Campaigning and Voting Periods Close

Voting closes at 10:00 AM (MST).

 

Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 12:00 PM (MST)

Deadline for GSA General Election Campaign-Related Expenses and Receipts Submission

Following the campaign period, candidates will be asked to submit to the CRO a report of all campaign-related expenses and associated receipts no later than two (2) hours after the close of the voting period (to be submitted electronically to the CRO at gsacroff@ualberta.ca; photos of receipts must also be submitted and a form will be provided to all candidates at the All-Candidates Meeting).

Thursday, 25 February 2021 - Tentative

GSA General Election Announcement of Provisional Results

Provisional results are results subject to change due to possible outstanding complaints to the CRO and appeals of CRO decisions.

Friday, 26 February 2021 - Tentative

Deadline to Lodge a Complaint of an Alleged Breach Associated with the GSA General Election

This deadline is set at twenty-four (24) hours after the announcement of provisional results.

Friday, 26 February 2021 - Tentative

GSA General Election Announcement of Official Results

Official results will be announced once the deadline to lodge a complaint of an alleged breach has passed and all processes associated with alleged breaches have been exhausted.

 

The 2021 GSA General Election Timeline and the GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Timeline were approved by the GSA Chief Returning Officer (CRO) in consultation with the GSA Elections and Referenda Committee (GSA ERC). This timeline has been developed in accord with GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section I: Elections and Section J: Referenda, which can be found here. 

2021 GSA Referenda: U-Pass and GSAP Referenda

What's At Stake?

In 2021, there will be two referenda questions put before graduate students: one about the U-Pass program and another about the Graduate Student Assistance Program (GSAP). These "Yes" or "No" questions ask graduate students to vote on the continuation of each respective program under a specific set of conditions (cost, term of agreement, etc.) as outlined by each question. 

As an example, voting "Yes" on either of the two referenda means that you agree with the terms of the agreement negotiated on your behalf by the graduate student leaders, including (for example) the fee associated with that service and the length of the agreement. 

In contrast, voting "No" on either of the two referenda means that you disagree with some aspect of the terms of the agreement negotiated on your behalf, and in the short term would mean the discontinuation of that program, effective Fall 2021.

Should I Get Involved?

Short answer? Yes!

As a graduate student, you have the opportunity to speak on not one, but two essential GSA services in 2021.

And that's not all! Some graduate students can make the choice to register campaigns in support of ("Yes" campaigns) or in opposition to ("No" campaigns) to either of the 2021 GSA Eeferenda. In doing so, you can launch a campaign and raise awareness on the benefits of voting "Yes" or "No" and help shape the outcome of the Referenda. 

The GSA Chief Returning Officer (CRO), who oversees the GSA General Election and Referenda, will email all graduate students about the 2021 GSA General Election and Referenda beginning in late January 2021, but don't hesitate to contact us at gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca if you have any questions. 

Timeline

 

Monday, 25 January 2021 at 8:30 AM (MST)

Registrations for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Campaign in the GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Open

Note that the referenda will proceed regardless of whether ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Campaigns are registered.

  • The registration period will last at least fourteen (14) calendar days, from 25 January 2021 to 9 February 2021.
  • Registration forms may be requested electronically from gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 at 12:00 PM (MST)

GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Registration Period Closes

  • Completed registration forms should be emailed to gsa.frontdesk@ualberta.ca.
  • Late or incomplete registration forms will not be accepted.
  • Once submitted, registration forms for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ campaign will be verified and signed by the CRO or the DRO and an electronic signed copy will be emailed to the Campaign Representative.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 at 1:00 PM (MST)

Mandatory Meeting of the Campaign Representatives in the GSAP and U-Pass Referenda

  • Attendance at the Meeting of the Campaign Representatives is mandatory and the link to participate in the Zoom meeting (held concurrently with the GSA General Election All-Candidates Meeting, above), as well as associated meeting materials, will be sent to all Campaign Representatives following the close of the campaign registration period.
  • Failure to attend without adequate prior notification of at least one (1) hour to the CRO is grounds for disqualification.
  • A scribe will be present at the Meeting of the Campaign Representatives and, shortly after the meeting, notes will be distributed to all candidates.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 at 12:00 AM (MST)

 GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Campaigning Begins

  • The campaign period will last at least seven (7) calendar days and will begin no earlier than the day following the Meeting of the Campaign Representatives.
  • The campaign period will run from 10 February 2021 to 25 February 2021. This includes the two (2) day voting period.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)

GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Voting Period Opens

  • The voting will last forty-eight (48) hours from 10 AM on Tuesday, 23 February to 10 AM on Thursday, 25 February 2021.
  • Campaigning is allowed during the voting period. 

Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 10:00 AM (MST)

GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Campaigning and Voting Periods Close

Voting closes at 10:00 AM (MST).

 

Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 12:00 PM (MST)

Deadline for GSAP and U-Pass Campaign-Related Expenses and Receipts Submission

Following the campaign period, Campaign Representatives will be asked to submit to the CRO a report of all campaign-related expenses and associated receipts no later than two (2) hours after the close of the voting period (to be submitted electronically to the CRO at gsacroff@ualberta.ca; photos of receipts must also be submitted and a form will be provided to all Campaign Representatives at the Meeting of the Campaign Representatives).

Thursday, 25 February 2021 - Tentative

GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Announcement of Provisional Results

Provisional results are results subject to change due to possible outstanding complaints to the CRO and appeals of CRO decisions.

 

Friday, 26 February 2021 - Tentative

Deadline to Lodge a Complaint of an Alleged Breach Associated with the GSAP and U-Pass Referenda with the CRO

This deadline is set at twenty-four (24) hours after the announcement of provisional results.

Friday, 26 February 2021 - Tentative

GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Announcement of Official Results

Official results will be announced once the deadline to lodge a complaint of an alleged breach has passed and all processes associated with alleged breaches have been exhausted.

 

 

The 2021 GSA General Election Timeline and the GSAP and U-Pass Referenda Timeline were approved by the GSA Chief Returning Officer (CRO) in consultation with the GSA Elections and Referenda Committee (GSA ERC). This timeline has been developed in accord with GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section I: Elections and Section J: Referenda, which can be found here. 

If you have any questions, please contact the GSA Chief Returning Officer at gsa.elections@ualberta.ca


Archive

The results of previous GSA General Elections and GSA Referenda are available in the GSA Elections and Referenda Archive. A record of GSA Chief Returning Officer and GSA Speaker decisions and appeal decisions can also be found there.