COVID-19: Support for students and recent graduates announced

Gordon Jessup • April 23, 2020

On April 22, 2020, the Federal government announced new support programs for students and recent graduates facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhancing student financial assistance for Fall 2020

The Canada Student Loan Program eligibility requirements in 2020-21 are being changed to allow more students to qualify for support and to be eligible for greater support amounts. The non-repayable Canada Student Grants is being doubled for the upcoming academic year.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Many post-secondary students and recent graduates are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or for Employment Insurance (EI).   Most are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19. The government is proposing to introduce the CESB to assist these young Canadians. The CESB will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents or  permanent disabilities.

The CESB will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and more details will be forthcoming.

Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

To encourage students to participate in the COVID-19 response, the government will launch a new national service initiative to recognize their contribution efforts. Through the new CSSG, eligible students will be provided up to $5,000 to support their post-secondary education costs in the fall.

More details will be made available on the  I Want to Help platform over the coming weeks, including detailed information on eligibility, the levels of funding under the CSSG, how to apply for a national service position, and how applications will be assessed.

International Students

The government is temporarily removing the restriction on international students that allow them to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week during the school year. International students will be allowed to exceed the 20-hour maximum provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or food or other critical goods supply. This measure will be in place until August 31, 2020.

International students and their employer are encouraged to consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-10 Pandemic to determine if the student’s  qualifies them to exceed the 20-hour limit.

The Federal government also announced the following:

  • The launch of the I Want to Help platform, that will provide helpful information about service opportunities and ways for young Canadians to get involved in the community.
  • The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to help youth develop skills and experience to transition into the labour market. $153.7 million of funding will support a range of measures in high demand sectors to create 6,000 additional job placements.
  • Changes to the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy’s Canada Summer Jobs program, including increased wage subsidies, expanded eligibility and new flexibilities for employers, to ensure it can continue to support up to 70,000 student job placements in 2020-21.
  • Funding of $80 million for the Student Work Placement Program to support up to 20,000 post-secondary students to obtain paid work experience related to their field of study.
  • $40 million to Innovation, Science and Economic Development to support Mitacts and create 5,000 new job placements.
  • $75.2 million to provide additional distinction-based support to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation post-secondary students.
  • $291.6 million to support up to 40,000 student researcher and post-doctoral fellows through the Federal granting councils. This funding will support one-semester extensions for eligible students whose scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies. It will also provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders of Federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff paid out of these awards.
  • $7.5 million to support student and post-doctoral research placements within the National Research Council.

Please contact your Fuller Landau engagement partner or manager for any questions.


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