Government of Canada supports for students
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty for post-secondary students across the country, and learners at Athabasca University (AU) are no exception.
As of May 2020, the Government of Canada has implemented several supports that may be valuable to AU learners.
Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB)
Announced shortly after the pandemic began, the Government of Canada launched the CERB. This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 16 weeks, roughly $2,000 per month for four months, to recipients, with several eligibility factors:
- You must live in Canada, be at least 15 years old, and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- One of the following must apply:
- You have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19
- You are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
- You have exhausted your Employment Insurance regular benefits or fishing benefits between Dec. 29, 2019, and Oct. 3, 2020
- You had declared income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application
- You did not quit your job voluntarily
To receive this benefit, you must reapply every four weeks. The benefit may also be available to international students if they meet other eligibility requirements. More information can be found on the Government of Canada CERB website.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
If you are a student but not eligible for the CERB, the Government of Canada announced the CESB on April 29, 2020. This will provide $1,250 per month to high-school graduates and post-secondary students. An additional $750 per month for students and graduates with permanent disabilities or dependents.
This is available to high-school graduates, post-secondary students (including those about to being their studies and part-time students, and those who have graduated from their studies since December 2019, and who are not already receiving CERB.
You will have to complete an attestation that you intended to work during the summer months and you will need to reapply every four weeks. More information can be found on the Government of Canada CESB website.
Enhancements to Canada Student Loan and Grant Program (CSLGP)
More students will be able to access the CSLGP with a series of changes that will be in place for one year:
- Canada Students Grants for all eligible full-time students will increase to $6,000, and for all eligible part-time students will increase to $3,600
- Eligibility requirements are broadened to remove the student’s and spouse’s expected contributions in 2020-21
- The maximum weekly amount that can provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
More information about loans and grants from the federal government can be found on the CSLGP website.
Canada Student Service Grant
On April 22, 2020, the Government of Canada announced it would create a new grant to pay up to $5,000 towards the education costs of students who take part in the COVID-19 response through a soon-to-be-announced national service initiative.
This grant is described in a Government of Canada media release.
Enhanced Canada Child Benefit
We know many AU learners are also parents—the Government of Canada has announced additional support for you.
Canadians who receive the Canada Child Benefit will receive an addition $300 per child for the scheduled payment in May.
If you are already get the benefit, you will not need to apply for this additional amount. You can read more about the Canada Child Benefit on the Government of Canada website.
Removing limits on work hours for international students
The Government of Canada has removed the restriction that limits international students to a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, if those students are working in an essential service as determined by Public Safety Canada.
This temporary change will be in place until Aug. 31, 2020.
This information was compiled based on information from the Canadian Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and from the Government of Canada.