Financial support for students affected by COVID-19
About this time every year students begin preparing to start their summer jobs to help cover their basic living and education expenses. Moreover, recent graduates are preparing to enter the job market and are eager to apply their academic skills in a work environment setting. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, these seemingly routine actions will prove to be very difficult this year as the economic fallout has resulted in a dramatic decrease in employment opportunities for students. It is for this reason that the government of Canada on April 22, 2020 announced comprehensive support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates.
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment insurance (EI). This benefit will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. While on CESB you can work and earn up to $1,000 monthly. This means that you can potentially earn up to $2,750 if you are able to find part-time work over the summer. The benefit will be available from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020.
Based on preliminary indications, the benefit will apply to students who meet the following criteria:
- Post-secondary students who are currently enrolled in school
- Students who are planning to start post-secondary education in September 2020
- Recent graduates who graduated from a school (e.g. college or university) in December 2019 and are unable to find work due to COVID-19
- The student must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and international students do not qualify for the program.
The CESB support program will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and as such additional information can be found on the CRA website. Moreover, applications for the benefit are expected to be made via the CRA website.
Canada Student Service Grant
The Government of Canada has also introduced another new initiative. The Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), will be focusing on assisting students gain valuable work experience and skills while serving their communities as they contribute to the COVID-19 efforts. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall. Additional information on the Canada Student Service Grant such as, detailed information about eligibility, the levels of funding available under the grant, how to apply for a national service position, and how applications will be assessed are available on the government of Canada website “I Want to Help” platform.
For international students, the 20-hour rule that restricts how many hours they can work per week has been lifted if they are working in an essential service health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods. International students and employers are encouraged to consult the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on whether the job is considered an essential Services. This change is in place until August 31, 2020.
Some Additional Support programs for students
The Canada Summer Jobs Program will see employers get up to 100% of the minimum hourly wage for each youth employee which represents an increase from the previous amount of 50%
Modifications are being made to the Canada Student Loans Program whereby the maximum weekly amount provided to a student will increase from $210 to $350.
Student loan repayments and interest will be suspended until September 30, 2020
The measures taken by the Canadian government provide a level of support to students as we move forward with the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 crisis. If we are to have any hope in the future as people, it will come from the bright minds of today.