Students can apply for $1,250 COVID-19 emergency aid starting Friday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed today that Friday, May 15 is the date for eligible post-secondary students to apply for the emergency student aid benefit, Canada Emergency Student Benefit-CESB.

The aid package valued at $9 billion will give eligible students up to $1,250 a month from May to August. The benefit also is available to students who have jobs but are making less than $1000 a month.

Students caring for dependents or individuals with disabilities will receive $2000 a month, the same amount offered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which assists Canadians who lost their incomes due to the global pandemic.

The CESB is to help students who are not eligible for the CERB aid.

The date was confirmed this morning during Trudeau’s daily announcements and has advised those who are eligible for this fund to begin signing up for an account on the CRA website to speed up the process.

You can apply online through your CRA My Account, or call the automated toll-free lines: call1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

           To verify your identity, you’ll need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • postal code

Once you have applied, if you have registered for direct deposit, you will receive payment within three to five days according to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, or by cheque payment in about 10 business days.

Qualtrough also stated that both the aid benefit and CERB terms and payments are likely to evolve as the economy slowly begins to reopen.

Students applying but haven’t yet filed a tax return must call the CRA to register their social insurance number.

Students collecting the emergency financial aid will be required to confirm that they’re seeking summer employment but are struggling due to the pandemic and will be connected with a government job bank that will connect these students with employers that have labour shortages.

Which periods you can apply for

According to the Canada Government website, you can start applying during the May 10 to June 6 eligibility period. If your situation continues, you must re-apply for another 4-week eligibility period.

Eligibility periods for post-secondary students:

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

For graduating high school students, the CESB is only available to eligible students who:

  • Completed or expect to complete high school, or received, or expect to receive their high school equivalency in 2020
  • Applied for a post-secondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021

If you complete high school:

  • Before June 7, 2020, your high school completion date must be before the start of the first eligibility period you are applying for
  • After June 7, 2020, you can only apply for 2 eligibility periods, starting from the July 5 to August 1 eligibility period

For more details of the CESB benefit and how to apply, you can find it at the Canada government website: 

Providing incentives for students to work

One concern about both the CERB and student aid benefits is that it may encourage those on the benefit to avoid working and to stay at home. 

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet asked Trudeau during an in-person House of Commons meeting what the government is doing to encourage students to find work in sectors that are facing labour shortages, such as the agriculture and fish processing.

Trudeau expressed confidence in the student population’s desire to find work, as he believes that “they don’t just want money. They want work experience.”

Additional measures announced to help students 

Aside from the benefit announced, other measures have been put in place to assist the student demographic including:

  • A stipend for students doing volunteer work. Value is between $1000 to $5000, depending on the number of hours worked.
  • Double the amount of grants for students. Up to $6000 for full-time students and up to $3600 for part-time students
  • An increase to the maximum weekly amount that is provided to the 2020-2021 student loan program. An increase to $350 from $210
  • $75 million in Indigenous post-secondary student assistance

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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