The Canadian Federation of Students passed a motion in its national general meeting on October 6 to decrease the threshold amount of signatures required for a referendum on the students’ CFS membership.

Bilan Arte, the national chairperson of CFS, explained in an email to The Medium that their executive team started an examination of CFS’ bylaws this past summer.

According to Arte, among the proposals put forward in the meeting, one suggestion was to “equalize the amount of petition signatures needed to certify and decertify membership with the federation.”

The current threshold required for a referendum regarding CFS membership is 20 percent of student signatures. However, Arte stated that the CFS has decided to propose a 15 percent threshold instead.

“While it is still normal for many unions or similar organizations to have different processes to join and to leave, we’re listening to students’ concerns and chose to propose a 15 percent threshold for both petitions,” Arte said.

The required threshold was one of the concerns addressed in UTSU’s letter to CFS on September 19.

The letter was signed by several other student unions, including Ryerson Students’ Union, Cape Breton University Students’ Union, University Students’ Union of Regina, Carleton University Students’ Association, OCAD SU, Kwantlen Student Association, Laurentian University Students’ General Association, Laurentian Students’ Union, and UBC Students’ Union Okanagan.

Another proposal put forth in the meeting was the creation of a national constituency council, which, according to Arte, would be the first time in the federation’s history.

“[The council would] provide a forum for elected constituency [representatives] across ten unique and complex identities and experiences held by our membership across the country,” Arte said. He added that it would include all levels and types of students.

Arte stated that the goal of this council would be to discuss social justice and the equity work for the student movements.

“I’m proud of these recommendations, but of course it is up to students to review every motion at the national meeting and decide what they want from their student movement,” Arte said.

Both motions will be considered for further approval in CFS’ general meeting in November.

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