OTTAWA, April 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Post-secondary students, who largely aren’t working during the school year or work contract jobs that will end at the end of April, are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is meant to protect those losing income because of COVID-19.
The federal government released eligibility criteria for the CERB last week and specified that those who are not currently employed and do not lose income because of COVID-19 are not eligible to receive the $2,000 a month benefit. This will largely affect students who have started seeking summer employment as the winter semester is wrapping up.
“Students are a unique working population. The current eligibility criteria for the CERB does not take into account the specific challenges students are facing and will be facing this summer given the current crisis,” said Sofia Descalzi, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Students depend on summer jobs not only to pay for rent, groceries and other living expenses, but also to save up for the coming school year. They will not be able to do that this summer.”
As Canadians continue to follow social distancing measures, the federal government must guarantee all students are eligible to receive $500 a week if they cannot find employment, either through the CERB or through the creation of a similar benefit for all post-secondary students.
The Canadian Federation of Students urges the federal government to include all students in their Emergency Response Plan and continues to support post-secondary students and advocate on their behalf during the COVID-19 epidemic. You can find more information at cfs-fcee.ca/covid-19/.
The Canadian Federation of Students unites over 500,000 college and university students and more than 60 students’ unions throughout the country including all students at Ryerson University.