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Ottawa takes steps to help post-secondary students, recent grads stay on track and enter workforce

$9 billion in aid going to 'leaders of tomorrow' during COVID-19, says minister


April 22, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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Photo: Courtesy PMO

The federal government is launching a number of programs to help post-secondary students weather COVID-19 — a critical step in ensuring these Canadians are able to continue education and enter the workforce.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a $9 billion support program for post-secondary students and recent graduates. It is designed to provide financial support this summer, help them continue in their studies in the fall and provide the experience they need to start their careers, the government said.

“The future of our economy and our country relies on the opportunities and support we provide to Canadian students today,” said Trudeau. “To promote a sustainable economic recovery, we need a strong workforce and good job opportunities for young people. That means giving them the support they need to continue their studies and encouraging them to serve their communities.”

These measures include launching:

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  • The proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • The new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

Bardish Chagger, the federal Ministser of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth said young Canadians have the “energy and skills” to help heal communities across the country.

“Our government is committed to providing enhancements to programs such as the Canada Service Corps to ensure our greatest resource – our people – can contribute and succeed,” said Chagger. “Because young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today.”

Other programs expanded

Ottawa will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months, it said.

In addition, to help students continue their studies in the fall, the government will:

  • double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
  • broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
  • enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  • increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
  • extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

Quick facts

  • As part of this initiative, the federal government will introduce legislation to be considered by Parliament.
  • Approximately 700,000 students received support from the Canada Student Loan Program in 2019-20, except in Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, where the province or territory operates student financial assistance programs with Government of Canada support. Of these, 71 per cent received some form of the means-tested Canada Student Grant, indicating that they were more likely to come from lower- and middle-income families.
  • Additional compensation will be offered for Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
  • On March 30, 2020, the Government of Canada placed a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying.
  • On April 8, 2020, the Government of Canada announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians with access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time. This program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years old.