June and July review from UMSU’s president
Brendan Scott on health care, student spaces and more

Dear Bisons,

I hope you are enjoying your summer as Manitoba’s restrictions lift and the vaccine rollout continues successfully.

Since my last address, the executive team has been working hard to ensure the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) is able to transition to progressively more normal operations throughout the fall term. While our service centre has remained open for quite some time, Aug. 30 will see the entire UMSU staff return to campus.

Here is what we have been up to these past two months.

Improved mental health benefits for the UMSU health plan 

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union has been working hard this summer to improve the student health and dental plan.

As part of UMSU’s ongoing commitment to supporting members’ well-being, the current coverage for mental health practitioners has been expanded to include visits to counsellors and psychotherapists, in addition to licensed clinical psychologists and practitioners.

UMSU health coverage under the health and dental plan continues to cover 100 per cent of the cost per visit for these eligible mental health practitioners to a combined maximum of $1,250 per policy year.

Free legal aid

This past spring, students voted 79.3 per cent in favour of being covered by the Studentcare legal protection program. To show off the program, UMSU has committed to pay for this service for all eligible students covered under the UMSU health and dental plan. From Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 30, 2022, students will have the ability to talk to legal representation on any legal matter. Students will also be able to receive legal representation in trials involving housing rights, employment rights and academic rights. Keep an eye out for more information through all UMSU media channels.

Renovated club spaces

As promised, the UMSU executives have been hard at work to optimize students’ campus experience. These past two months have been spent renovating UMSU spaces in the basement of Helen Glass with new paint, carpets and furniture. The project is expected to be completed in September and will allow all 200-plus UMSU clubs to operate in an improved space.

Orientation

With classes starting in a month, planning on re-engaging the student body through an orientation event has begun. From September 8 to 10, your executives will be in UMSU University Centre to welcome you back to school. Food trucks will be set up at Curry Place to give students a chance to grab lunch. Stop by to learn more about your union and pick up some free UMSU swag.

U-Pass

Currently, UMSU is continuing to negotiate a new U-Pass contract with the City of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Transit. As the fall semester at the University of Manitoba will still be mostly online, students will not be charged a U-Pass fee for the upcoming semester. A post-secondary semester pass is the best option for students who will rely on transit this fall. UMSU will be providing a transit subsidy to students who purchase a post-secondary semester pass and are in financial need. Keep an eye out for this subsidy in the coming weeks.

General Updates

The executive team had the honour of meeting with the Member of Legislative Assembly from St. Vital Jamie Moses to discuss what is affecting students the most these days. We will continue to meet with provincial members of parliament to make sure students’ voices are heard.

In other news, the UMSU board of directors will be able to meet in person for the first time since March 2020. A board retreat will take place to engage with and train the board together.

Enjoy the rest of August, and we’ll see you in the fall.

Brendan Scott
President, University of Manitoba Students’ Union