Students can apply for COVID-19 emergency aid beginning Friday

Post-secondary students eligible for COVID-19 emergency aid can apply for the benefit starting Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the date for opening the $9-billion program this morning during his daily briefing. He advised claimants to sign up for an account on the Canada Revenue Agency website to ensure the process moves as quickly as possible.

Students who saw their job prospects dry up because of the pandemic are eligible for $1,250 a month from May through August. The benefit also is available to students who have jobs but are making less than $1,000 a month.

Students caring for dependents or those with a disability will receive $2,000 a month — the same amount offered by the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), which provides assistance to Canadians who lost their incomes due to the global pandemic.

Students collecting the emergency financial aid will be required to confirm they’re looking for summer work and will be connected with a government job bank to help employers struggling with labour shortages.

Providing incentives to work

During an in-person sitting in the House of Commons today, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet pressed Trudeau to state what the government is doing to give students incentives to take jobs in sectors facing labour gaps, such as agriculture and fish processing.

Trudeau said the student applicants will be directed to a job bank managed by the government, and expressed confidence that young Canadians will work if they can.

“They don’t just want money. They want work experience,” he said.

Other measures that have been announced to help students include:

  • A stipend of between $1,000 and $5,000 for student volunteers, depending on the number of hours they work.
  • A move to double student grants for eligible students — up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students.
  • An increase in the maximum weekly amount that can be provided through the Canada student loans program in 2020-2021, to $350 from $210.
  • Another $75 million in additional supports for Indigenous post-secondary students.


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