Canada Emergency Student Benefit

There is still limited information about the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) but the Prime Minister and his team have continued to tweak and introduce initiatives on the fly in an attempt to keep as many Canadians as possible from slipping through the cracks as the economic hardships of COVID-19 accrue. Yes it has come a bit later than the CERB but realistically students have their majority of work hours during the summer months when they are out of school.

With the CESB, post-secondary and recent graduates who currently find themselves ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or for Employment Insurance (EI), and who are unable to find full-time employment, likely due to COVID-19, will be eligible to receive $1,250 per month from May through August 2020. That benefit can grow to $1,750 if these students have dependents with permanent disabilities.

You can now apply for the CESB however it does come with certain conditions.

You must be one of the following.

  • Canadian Citizen
  • Registered Indian
  • Permanent Resident
  • Protected Person

You must be studying in Canada or abroad.

One of these situations must also apply to you.

  • You have already enrolled in a post secondary program which leads to a degree, diploma or a certificate.
  • You have already completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later.
  • You have completed or are expecting to complete high school, and have already applied for a post-secondary program which would start before February 1, 2021.

One of these situations must apply to you.

  • You are currently unable to find employment as a result of COVID-19
  • You are currently looking for work, but are unable to find a job as a result of COVID-19
  • You can still be working during the periods in question however whether you are employed or self-employed you must make less than $1,000 net of expenses for self employed and gross of taxes during the 4-week period.

If all these eligibility conditions are met , you may also be eligible for an extra $750 during this 4-week period, if you have a disability or you have at least one child under the age of 12 or have other dependents.

Periods of eligibility for University Students, graduating high school students it will depend on when you graduate.

May 10 to June 6, 2020
June 7 to July 4, 2020
July 5 to August 1, 2020
August 2 to August 29, 2020

How can one apply?

The easiest way would be if you have already filed a tax return in Canada. If you have not done so because most high school students have never done so you must call the regular line 1-800-959-8281 before you apply for the CESB. There are specific dates again like the CERB set up for those born on specific months in order to not over-flood the CRA website.

As for students with a disability or a child, the $1,750 is being increased by $250 per month, bringing the benefit to par with the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Canada Student Service Grant

The government has stated that they will launch a new national service initiative which will recognize students’ contributions during the COVID-19 period. By providing the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), the government will provide up to $5,000 to help support students’ post-secondary education costs in the fall for students that volunteer in a sector requiring assistance during the COVID-19 response.

Details on the CSSG is currently limited but I will update this space as more information becomes available.

Other Benefits

The government has also promised that they will allow more students to qualify for financial support and that these amounts will also be greater; in many cases doubling the Canada Student Grants for both part time and full time students. Considering many students may be unable to find jobs during the summer because of COVID-19, these grants and loans will help them manage their tuition fees as well as additional costs for the upcoming school year.

The Canadian government will also remove the restriction on international students which only allows them to work 20 hours a week while they are in class, the only restriction is that they must be working in an essential service, for example critical infrastructure or health care.