Written By - Supriya
In view of the economic impacts of COVID-19, the Canadian government has decided to lend a helping hand to post-secondary students requiring immediate financial aid. This will be accomplished by establishing the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan.
This plan aims to release need-based financial support of $9 billion providing income support to post-secondary students and recent graduates, of which CESB accounts for $5.2 billion that will be reaching 1 million students.
As of March 2020, the number of post-secondary working students, aged 15-29, have declined significantly by 28% from February 2020. In light of this, the introduction of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit seems to be a promising step to sustain the livelihood of these students.
Under CESB, unemployed post-secondary students in Canada will be granted an amount of $1,250 every month for a duration of four months, i.e., May-August 2020. Differently-abled students and those students with dependents will be offered an additional amount of $750.
This aid is directed only towards students and can be availed by anyone who fulfills one of the following eligibility criteria:
The Canadian Government is continuously taking action to provide the CESB aid to students as fast as they can, especially to those who are in urgent need of financial help.
It must be noted that the financial benefits offered under CESB get expired within a period of four weeks and thus students need to reapply every four weeks to continue receiving the aid. Students who have not been able to find any source of income due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 or are earning less than $1000 can start applying online for CESB from May onwards through August 2020 via the online application portal of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Students are allowed to search for employment or earn up to $1000 while they are availing financial help through CESB.
Although CESB brings a sense of relief among Canadian students, there are a few exceptions due to which many students will not be eligible to avail CESB even after meeting eligibility criteria.
Canadian students may lose upon CESB if:
CESB is restricted only to the citizens of Canada, unlike CERB. As of now, there are no reports confirming that international students will be able to avail of financial assistance through CESB. International students are hopeful that soon good news will come for those stranded in Canada due to COVID-19 and unable to fly back to their home country.
Considering the prevailing situation, the Canadian government has lifted the impositions on the number of hours (20-40 a week), an international student could work on-campus with the student visa. This can help international students to sustain their livelihood, although minimal jobs are available on-campus.