The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations knows how difficult COVID-19 is making life for students and recent graduates. As schools and businesses across Canada close for the foreseeable future, we have developed this list of resources for students and recent graduates seeking relief and information:
The Government of Canada has a 'Benefits Finder' available for anyone looking for clarity on what benefits they qualify for!
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit -- To help working students, the Government of Canada is offering $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit will be offered to Canadian residents who have an income greater than $5,000 in 2019, or in the past 12 months. CERB applications are open now!
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (Set Up Your Account Now) – For those students who are unable to work due to COVID-19, and are not eligible for the CERB, the government has announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. This benefit will offer $1,250 per/month for four months to any student who is either “a post-secondary student right now,… going to [school] in September, or… graduated in December 2019,”and can attest that they planned to work over the summer. Students with dependents or permanent disabilities can receive $2,000 per/month under the CESB.
Amendments to the Canada Student Loan Program
- The Canada Student Grant will be doubled from $3,000 to $6,000 for the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Weekly loan maximums will be increasing from $210 to $350 a week.
- Student and Spousal contributions will be removed.
- Canada Student Loan Payment Suspension -- Effective March 30, 2020, repayment on all Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprenticeship Loans will be paused, interest-free, until September 30, 2020.
- Personal Income Tax Deferrals -- The Canada Revenue Agency is deferring the final due date for personal income tax filings until June 1, 2020. The CRA will also allow individuals to pay their personal income tax balances until August 31, 2020.
- Indigenous Student Supports – $75.2 million to increase existing distinctions-based support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary students.
International Student Supports:
- Study Permit Update -- Due to COVID-19, some study permit applicants may be unable to complete the required biometric, medical, and travel documentation components of their application. Knowing this, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that they will not refuse any study permit applications that are missing documents as a result of coronavirus service disruptions.
- Post-Graduation Work Permit Update 2 -- International students unable to travel to Canada in September may begin their classes while outside the country, and can complete up to 50% of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. International students will also not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020.
- Essential Service Work Update -- For international students working in essential services, the Government of Canada has removed the 20 hour per/week limit while classes are in session.
- Travel Update -- To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions, such as movement restrictions and quarantines.
Expanded Student and Youth Programming – The Government of Canada is expanding several existing federal employment and youth programs to create up to 116,000 jobs for students. This includes:
- Canada Summer Jobs Program – The government plans to offer 70,000 jobs this summer through the CSJ by increasing the wage subsidy to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee, extending the end date for employment to February 28, 2021, allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis, and allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services. You can find Canada Summer Jobs here!
- Youth Employment and Skill Strategy – The government aims to create an addition 6,000 jobs in areas such as agriculture, technology, health, and essential services an additional investment of $153.7 million.
- Student Work Placement Program – The government is looking to create 20,000 postsecondary student job placements with an $80 million investment.
- Canada Service Corps – Providing additional support to help find youth service projects “that have positive impacts in communities across Canada.”
- Supports for Student Learning Program – Investing an additional $15 million to help 14,700 vulnerable children and youth complete high school and enter post-secondary education.
- Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Placements – Investing $40 million in ISED to support Mitacs in order to create 5,000 new job placements.
- The Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) Student Placements -- Creating an additional 10,000 student placements by reorienting existing federal support and building online tools.
- National Research Council Placements – Investing $7.5 million to support student and post-doctoral research placements within the NRC.
- Canada Student Service Grant -- Students who volunteer over the summer will be eligible for an additional student grant of up to $5,000. This amount will range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the number of hours volunteered. The grant aims to support student's post-secondary education costs in the fall. More details will be available shortly on the ‘I Want to Help’ Government of Canada portal.
- Graduate Research Scholarship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Extensions – The federal government has committed $291 million to allow for the extension of Canada Granting Agency funding for 3 to 4 months for student researchers. These funds will support up to 40,000 student researchers and post-doctoral fellows. Qualifying students are those whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020, and they intend to continue study. It also provides a 3-month funding extension for holders of federal research grants to support trainees and staff. It is worth noting that these extensions cannot be combined with other relief income support.
Mental Health Supports -- In this stressful time, many students are experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety and depression. CASA understands the importance of sustaining positive mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are having difficulties, please visit:
- Government of Canada-Wellness Together Portal – The Government of Canada has partnered with Wellness Together Canada to create a mental health portal for anyone dealing with COVID-19-related mental distress. You can access educational resources and immediate support crisis lines below without creating an account. You can also create an account and be diagnosed for tailored online mental health supports.
- The Mental Health Commission of Canada -- Take advantage of the external resources provided on their website.
- Social Distancing Guide -- Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are having problems understanding social distancing, or need to explain the concept to others, check out this resource from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Government of Canada COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool -- Feeling ill? Have questions about COVID-19? This Government of Canada tool provides answers to a variety of virus-related questions. It will also allow you self-assess any symptoms you may be experiencing to determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.
- School & Student Association Emergency Funds -- Across the country, individual schools and student associations are stepping up to support students by offering their own Emergency Support Funds. Students requiring financial assistance should check with both their school and their student association to see if either are offering support.
If you need any clarification on any of the policies listed above, or have any further questions about what is being done to help students affected by COVID-19, please contact us over social media, or by using our Contact page.