The Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS) has released the results of the 2016 Canadian National Postdoc Survey.
Of the over 2,100 participants, 136 were affiliated with UBC, which was the highest number of any institution (way to go, UBC postdocs!). Some key findings of the survey:
- The proportion of international postdocs in Canada has decreased since 2013, and over half of international postdocs report difficulties with obtaining visas or work permits. This suggests that Canada is becoming less competitive in its ability to attract international scholars.
- Many postdocs lack access to benefits, with around 50% of postdocs in Canada having no access to Employment Insurance or the Canada Pension Plan.
- The mean age of Canadian postdocs is 34, and the number of postdocs in the 35+ age group has increased substantially since the first Canadian Postdoc Survey in 2009.
- Around 75% of postdocs reported negative thoughts, feelings, or issues related to mental health for a period of longer than one month.
In spite of the fact that many postdocs are now in their mid-30s or beyond, there is a widespread lack of access to government benefits that afford most other Canadian workers paid parental leave, employment insurance, and access to the Canada Pension Plan. (Please note: at UBC all postdocs are eligible for paid maternity leave, but this is not the case at most Canadian universities.) In addition, many postdocs are living far away from their support networks and dealing with stressful job situations, which may negatively impact their mental health.
To read more about the survey results, please visit the CAPS website:
Are you concerned about the status of postdocs in Canada and wondering how to take action? Here are some ideas:
- attend or volunteer for the Future of Research Vancouver Symposium on February 20, 2017. For more information, follow @FOR_Van on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- get involved in CAPS advocacy initiatives. For more information, visit the CAPS website (http://www.caps-acsp.ca/en/) or email email@example.com.