CASCA membership involves being part of:
- a large group that can speak impartially and authoritatively to others about the interests of that group’s profession (e.g., to lawmakers)
- an organized group that supports efforts to realize those interests (e.g., support for the Canadian Coalition for Astronomy)
- a professional group that examines and reports on the current health of its profession (e.g., through committees)
- a diverse group that organizes exercises to determine future priorities (the Long Range Plans)
- a national organization that defines the professional community within the country, allowing better communication within the country (e.g., e-Cassiopeia, the e-mail exploder, member directories)
- an impartial group that honours its peers when warranted (e.g., through awards)
- a professional group that assists in the organization of national outreach initiatives (e.g., IYA)
- a long-lived organization that embraces the heritage of its profession and acknowledges the historical contributions by members of the profession (e.g., the Hogg Prize Lecture)
- an inclusive organization that encourages younger members in its profession (e.g., free first-year memberships, grants for annual meeting travel, sponsoring of graduate workshops
- a representative national organization that enables membership in the International Astronomical Union
Description of CASCA membership categories
I. Continuing Members
a) Ordinary Members
Such members must be professionally engaged in research or teaching in astronomy or a related science. To be considered “professionally engaged,” a person most hold at least a Master’s degree awarded by a recognized university for work related to astronomy or astrophysics, or else have equivalent experience. (The CASCA Board retains the discretion to decide on individual membership qualifications.) Ordinary members can take part in elections at annual or specially convened CASCA meetings. Postdoctoral Fellows (within 5 years of receiving a PhD), retired individuals, and Ordinary members engaged in graduate studies are each eligible to become Ordinary members for reduced membership fees. See the CASCA Membership Application Form for further details.
b) Student Members
Such members must be enrolled for at least one academic year in a graduate program in astronomy or astrophysics at a recognized university, and must be continuing therein. Student members can take part in elections at annual or specially convened CASCA meetings. Students may join the Society during the first year of their studies in astronomy and have their membership fees waived until the following autumn.
Student members who recently defended their dissertations must submit an application for Ordinary membership of CASCA by the next annual meeting to avoid becoming expelled.
c) Associate Members
Such members must be professionally engaged in work related to astronomy, e.g., instrumentation or software engineering, teaching, or employment as a professional staff member in a museum, planetarium or science centre. To be professionally engaged, a person must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree awarded by a recognized university for study in a discipline appropriate to their occupation or have equivalent experience. Associate members may take part in elections at annual or specially convened CASCA meetings.
d) Honorary Members
Such members, typically distinguished astronomers, are elected to the Society through resolution by the CASCA Board. At any given time, there are no more than ten Honorary members, and no more than three Canadian Honorary members. Honorary members enjoy all the privileges of CASCA membership except they cannot take part in the elections of Officers and Directors. Honorary members are exempt from membership dues or other assessments.
e) Corporate Members
Such members are organizations whose activities are related to astronomy. Their representatives may attend scientific meetings but may only take part in governance of the Society if they are individually Ordinary members.
II. First-time Members
Members are elected to the Society through resolution by the CASCA Board of Directors. New Ordinary, Associate and Student members must be nominated to join the Society by other members in good standing. Nominees for Ordinary or Associate membership must be nominated by two Ordinary members. Nominees for Student membership must be nominated by one Ordinary member. The Board retains the discretion to determine the qualification of nominees for membership and may waive membership requirements in individual, special cases. Corporate members are elected only through resolution by the Board. See the CASCA Membership Application Forms for instructions on nomination.
III. Resignation and Previous Members
Any member may withdraw from Society membership by giving written notice of resignation to the Secretary of the Society. Resignation is effective upon receipt of this notice. If a member no longer wishes to retain membership, he or she is encouraged to resign to avoid penalties associated not paying their dues.
Penalties for Not Paying Dues without Resigning first
Members who have not paid membership dues or assessments for 2 years in a row may be expelled from the Society. Such members will be not in good standing with the Society and may not exercise any rights of Society membership. To rejoin, an expelled member must re-apply for membership and pay a reinstatement fee as established by the CASCA Board. At present, this fee is equal to one year’s dues at the appropriate membership level at the time of expulsion.