Support for Students Impacted by COVID-19

The Federal government has announced approximately $9 billion in aid for post-secondary students impacted by COVID 19. This aid signals recognition by the government of the potential significant negative impacts of COVID19 on post-secondary students. Students may have their ability to continue their studies impacted by COVID-19, they may be unable to secure and retain summer employment, may face difficulty paying their bills or saving for tuition in the fall. Also recognized is the struggle that newly graduated students may face in finding employment in their field of study. As a result of this, the government has announced a series of measures as part of its COVID 19 Emergency Response Plan to assist students and recent graduates. The measures fall within five broad categories:

  1. Expanded student and youth programming with an aim to creating and connecting students to meaningful employment and service opportunities;
  2. Enhancing student financial assistance for the fall of 2020 with changes to the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements for 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts;
  3. Creation of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit which provides $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020 and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities;
  4. Canada Student Service Grant to encourage students to participate in the COVID-19 response with provision of a grant of up to $5,000 to support the student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall; and
  5. International Students – a temporary rule change allowing international students to work in excess of the current maximum of 20 hours per week provided they are working in an essential service or function, until August 31, 2020.

Eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Student benefit include that the individual is a post-secondary student or recent graduate and ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance, but unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19. The purpose of the benefit is to provide income support to post-secondary students experiencing financial hardship over the summer due to COVID-19. The benefit will be delivered by the CRA and more details are expected in the near future.

Changes to Provincial and Federal Covid-19 Benefits happen rapidly and often.  We update our helpful Benefit Chart just as frequently.  Stay current on the most essential benefits available by visiting our Chart.  We’ll be posting on LinkedIn whenever it is updated.  Or you can find it on the Harper Grey COVID-19 Resource Hub – check it out here.

This update was authored by Rose Keith, QC. Looking for more information on developments regarding the evolving COVID-19 pandemic? Contact Rose at or anyone else listed on the authors page.