April 20, 2020
Dear Presidents of Canadian Universities,
The past month has seen the entire country thrust into the new realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. During a time when university campuses are usually administering exams and preparing for convocation, you are facing an unprecedented time of change.
On behalf of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada, we want to thank you for all you have done to support the national efforts to combat this vicious virus, and to support students through this very trying time.
From the very beginning, Canadian universities took swift and decisive action in cancelling in-person events and programs and transitioning to online learning. Your universities have provided opportunities for students to access financial relief and made available other accommodations to support students struggling to pay their education bills or return home from school. You have heeded the plea of health officials and the governments to donate medical supplies to hospitals and front-line workers in need. You have pivoted research and laboratory resources to help the medical community find long-term solutions to the COVID-19 virus. And you have offered mental health support to students feeling overwhelmed and unnerved by the emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic is having on society.
Canadian universities have once again demonstrated the ability to be leaders, innovators and critical institutions in our society. We recognize that even under normal circumstances, universities find themselves faced with pressures from students, faculty, government and other stakeholders. You are rising to the challenges of the time – your hard work is recognized, and it is appreciated.
Your campuses and the Jewish community have long benefited from a close relationship. We look forward to continuing to work together to support students and the pursuit of academic partnerships in the weeks and months ahead.
Vice President, University and Local Partner Services