Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

We’ve received comments and inquiries from our community recently. We’ve compiled responses to the most frequently asked questions and comments to address these recurring topics efficiently. If you have any further questions or require additional clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out via the Feedback form. Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement with us.

The SSMU Executive Committee

Q: The SSMU has emptied its coffers to pay off large settlements and to pay lawyers to fight defamation suits.

A: The SSMU, like any organization, is responsible for protecting its reputation and integrity. 

To fulfill this mandate, the SSMU is covered by a Directors and Officers Insurance policy, which is advisable for an organization governed by a Board of Directors.

The SSMU has been involved in some lawsuits; some have been concluded, and others are ongoing. Regarding lawsuits involving individuals, the SSMU is bound by confidentiality, thus preventing us from disclosing or discussing any specifics. However, our detailed budgets for 2023/2024 and previous years are accessible on our website.

Currently, over 90% of our operational budget, funded by the base fee, is allocated towards staff salaries.

Feel free to inquire about specific line items by contacting the VP Finance directly at


Q: The Executives are overpaid, and reducing them to volunteers or reducing their pay would solve the deficit.

A: The SSMU advocates for fair compensation for workers and does not rely on unpaid volunteers to operate. All our staff members, including the SSMU Executives, are considered employees and receive compensation. SSMU Executives sign a one-year contract of 40 hours per week and are compensated with a base salary of $37,842 and additional taxable benefits. This equates to approximately $18.03 per hour, and overtime compensation is not provided. Compensating the Executives ensures that covering living expenses will not hinder access to the role, making it accessible to every student regardless of socioeconomic status.

Currently, the Executives’ salaries and benefits combined account for only 7.6% of the total staff salaries.


The SSMU is vague and opaque in its operations and financial management. 

The SSMU is a not-for-profit corporation subject to audits, and we make our financial statements and operational reports available to the public on our website. We also operate under democratic principles by reviewing the progress and outcomes of our mandates regularly: biweekly at the Board of Directors, biweekly at the Legislative Council, and twice a year at the General Assemblies. 

The budget is presented and ratified semi-annually at the Legislative Council and the Board of Directors. 

Any questions or comments can be directed to our feedback form.

Q: The Executives are not qualified to run the Association, so it is constantly mismanaged. Therefore, it does not deserve more money.

A: As a student union, the SSMU exists to advance the interests of McGill students. It is run by elected Executives overseen by the Board of Directors, all of whom are currently enrolled undergraduate students. Students choose the elected executives by a democratic process based on their demonstrated leadership skills, vision for the association, and commitment to addressing student concerns. 

Although the Executives may have limited management experience due to their student status, they undergo comprehensive training during their onboarding that covers all aspects of Association management. This encompasses various areas such as general administration, insurance, legal compliance, government regulations, human resources training, and the management and institutional memory relevant to their specific portfolios (Finance, Student Life, etc.).


Q: Clubs and Services receive little to no benefit from being under SSMU, and accessing what benefits there are is extremely difficult. Requirements change ad hoc, and the reasoning and process for changes are not communicated. 

A: One of SSMU’s most important mandates is to enrich the student experience and provide diverse opportunities for involvement and engagement within the McGill community. McGill does not provide the infrastructure to sustain student clubs and services. Student groups thrive due to the foundational support provided by SSMU.

Without support from SSMU’s HR, accounting, communications,  student life, and operations divisions, McGill students would have significantly fewer clubs and services available.

As requirements evolve, we communicate updates and announcements regarding all processes through official channels, including listservs, club and services workshops, social media, and online platforms, such as:

Club Resources page

Service Resources page

We recognize that accessing support for clubs and services can appear complex and challenging, and we acknowledge that there is always room for improvement. Rest assured, we are dedicated to addressing these concerns. However, SSMU is currently facing considerable strain due to the limited resources required to support over 200 clubs and 18 services.

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