Government Provides COVID-19 Support for Students and Recent Graduates

In March, the number of post-secondary working students (aged 15-29) dropped by 28% from February, due to COVID-19. The federal government announced emergency responses to help the post-secondary community during the pandemic, namely the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

CESB provides $1,250 per month for eligible students from May to August and $1,750 for students with dependents and permanent disabilities. This is added to the 70,000 jobs for young people created in sectors that need help, over $2 million to ensure graduate students can continue their research, doubling Canada Student Grants, and the Canada Student Service Benefit, already in place for post-secondary students.

Many students and recent graduates are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on their ability to continue their studies, securing summer employment, pay bills, and/or save for tuition in the fall. Also, recent graduates might struggle to find employment in their field of study, which may have a negative impact on the value of their education later on.

The government proposed to allow more students to qualify for supports and be eligible for greater amounts of student loans including doubling the non-repayable grants, as well as for students with disabilities and students with dependents.

Students participating in the COVID-19 response can be eligible for a new Canada Student Service Grant, which will provide up to $5,000 to support post-secondary education costs in the fall.

International Students

The federal government will temporarily remove the restriction that international students can only work 20 hours per week maximum, while in school, until August 31. This is if the international student is working in an essential service or function (like health care, critical infrastructure, or food or other critical food supplies).

International students and their employers can check Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada for eligibility.

Applications for the CESB benefit will be done through the CRA MyAccount.