TORONTO, ON – The government has passed a $9 billion investment for post-secondary students, known as the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit, which will provide income support to post-secondary students across Canada.
In these trying times of COVID-19, students have been detrimentally impacted in a number of ways, including financially, which also holds larger ramifications for academic success, mental health and addiction as well. On the morning of April 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a commitment of $9 Billion to begin filling the gap students had expressed since the beginning of this pandemic. This investment, known as theCanadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), has now been passed by the House of Commons with support from MPs on both sides of the aisle.
CESB will provide financial relief to post-secondary students and recent graduates who are Canadian citizens, registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents, and protected persons, from May to August 2020. There are also additional investments for Indigenous students and increased federal student grants for the upcoming school year. This benefit will help students stay afloat during these unprecedented times in which many students are struggling to afford their education and secure employment; a recent survey from CSA found that over 60% of respondents are struggling to fund their college education and over 70% are significantly concerned about finding employment after graduation.
Through federal and provincial advocacy efforts such as the College Student Alliance’s mass letter writing campaign, your voices were heard! Below are the details of what this new initiative will include:
● $1250 a month for post-secondary students and recent graduates
● $2000 for students with dependants and students with disabilities
● Doubled federal student grants and increased student loans for upcoming 2020/21 school year
● Specific help for Indigenous students
● Grants for students who volunteer to fight COVID-19
CSA commends the government on coming together from both sides of the aisle to approve this significant investment in post-secondary students of Canada. While CSA is glad that this benefit will help many students in need, we hope that international students will also be included in this generous investment moving forward. The federal announcement to temporarily remove the hourly cap on international student employment is
helpful but more assistance is urgently required. International students are particularly in need of support, as they pay exorbitantly higher tuition fees than domestic students and are far away from their families and support networks with limited ability to travel home. Also, with this global pandemic many international financial institutions are not accessible meaning that some students who rely on support from home are unable to receive them even if the funds are available.
In a social media poll, CSA found that 47% of students believe they would not be supported by CESB. We are hopeful that the government will make CESB accessible to all students in need so that every student in Canada can access a post-secondary education without being hindered by the effects of COVID-19.
To help us in our advocacy efforts, you can fill out either our International Student Form Letter or ourDomestic Student Form Fetter, and send them to the respective MPs and MPPs as listed at the top of each letter. Additionally, we have created an Infosheet on available COVID-19 funding resources, which includes available information on CESB eligibility.
About College Student Alliance:
College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.
Champagne Thomson, Director of Advocacy & Member Engagement College Student Alliance
T: 416-340-1212 | C: 705-327-8806
Taylor Irvine, Research & Policy Analyst
College Student Alliance
T: 416-340-1212 | C: 289-686-1997