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April 24, 2020 1:17 PM

Government resources for students and recent graduates

The federal, provincial and municipal governments have announced several resources available to help students and recent graduates facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit and Canada Student Service Grant

On April 22, Canada announced a number of emergency measures to help students and recent graduates, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit and initiatives to help with jobs, research and student grants.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides emergency financial relief to students and recent graduates who are unable to work, or unable to find work, due to reasons related to COVID-19. This benefit will provide $1,250 per month from May to August for those eligible. Those who have dependents or who have disabilities are eligible for $2,000 per month, May to August.

The Canada Student Service Grant brings together qualified post-secondary students and recent graduates with volunteer opportunities to support Canada’s response to COVID-19. Grants from $1,000 to $5,000 will be provided to those eligible in recognition of their service. Those receiving the Canada Emergency Student Benefit can also apply for the student service grant.

Student loans and repayment

Both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have announced the suspension of student loan repayments and interest from March 30 through September 30, 2020.

The federal government is also proposing changes to the Canada Student Loans Program that will allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts.

Canada Summer Jobs program

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities to develop and improve skills within the not-for-profit, small business and public sectors while supporting the delivery of key community services.

Temporary changes will allow employers to hire more students for both full-time and part-time positions extending through February 28, 2021. Positions will be searchable through the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website.

Supporting international students working in an essential service

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirmed a temporary rule change on April 22, 2020, removing barriers for international students working in essential services to fight COVID-19.

Effective immediately, international students may work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods. Students and their employers should consult Public Safety Canada to determine if their role is deemed essential.

The temporary change will be in place until August 31, 2020.

Community support

The Region of Waterloo and its municipal and community partners are working together to ensure vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 get the support they need, including food hampers, emergency child care, and crisis and distress lines.

Financial assistance

Complete lists of available financial assistance from the federal and provincial governments can be found online. 

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