This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced financial aid for students in Canada who are being affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The government is investing approximately $9 billion into new measures for students, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which will directly provide money to current post-secondary students, those starting post-secondary in September, and those who graduated in December 2019.
From May to August, the CESB will provide $1250 a month to regular students and $1750 a month to students who have a disability or act as a caretaker to somebody else.
“COVID-19 has meant that there aren’t as many jobs out there for students. And without a job, it can be hard to pay for tuition or the day-to-day basics,” Trudeau said. “As young people, what you’re going through matters, and we want to make sure that you’ll be okay.”
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The CESB is also available to students who already have a job but are only making up to $1000 a month.
“We’ll be working with opposition parties to move forward on legislation to put this new benefit in place,” the prime minister said.
Additionally, Trudeau says the federal government will create 76,000 jobs for young people, in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs program, which will be in sectors that need extra help or are on the frontlines during the pandemic. Specific help will also be provided to Indigenous students.
For student researchers and graduate students, the government will reportedly invest over $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships and grants to make sure those students can keep working — an extension of either three or four months, depending on each student’s funding.
Students spending their summer volunteering in efforts against COVID-19 will be eligible for $1000 to $5000 (depending on their hours) through the new Canada Student Service grant.
“Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts, or just give back. Your energy and your skills can do a lot of good right now,” said Trudeau.
Lastly, the prime minister announced that the government is doubling the student grants it gives out for the 2020/2021 school year.
Trudeau has assured students that these new measures will help them get through the pandemic and continue onward to the career they’ve been looking forward to.
The CESB will be implemented in addition to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is currently providing $2000 a month to residents who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
When asked why the government did not make the CERB a universal benefit, Trudeau said they’re aiming to provide specific help to Canadians who need it, and said that some residents don’t need help right now.
“We felt, and we feel, that targeting the maximum amount of help to the people who needed it quickly was the right way to begin to get through this process,” Trudeau explained.
The period covered by the CESB begins on May 1.
More information will be provided in the coming days for the CESB, new jobs for young people, and increased grants.
Details on all of the government’s current financial aid benefits can be seen at canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.