Trudeau announces $9 billion aid package for students

Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unveiling a $9 billion emergency program aimed at helping post-secondary students in Canada during COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled plans for a $9 billion emergency aid package Wednesday morning, aimed at helping post-secondary students in Canada during COVID-19.

During his daily press conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau revealed details of the package which includes government financial relief for students who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Assistance from this aid package will be available to students through the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), said the prime minister.

For any student who qualifies, they will receive $1250 a month from the federal government beginning in May and lasting through August. Trudeau added that if you are taking care of someone or have a disability, the benefit will increase to $1750 per month.

“This benefit is designed for you if you are a post-secondary student right now, if you are going to college in September, or if you graduated in December 2019,” said Trudeau in a national address. “It’s there for you even if you have a job, but you’re only making up to $1000 per month.”

Trudeau added the period covered by the benefit will start on May 1st with payments coming through the Canada Revenue Agency.

The government is also creating 76,000 job placements for young people in sectors currently dealing with labour shortages. Trudeau said these jobs will be in addition to the ones available through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Trudeau said the government will be investing $291 million towards student researchers and graduate students as well. This money will go towards scholarships, fellowships and grants in an effort to enable these students to keep working.

During his announcement, the prime minister acknowledged that some students are volunteering instead of working and said, therefore, the government will be making new service grants available to help in these instances.

The Canada Student Service Grant will be rolled out in the coming weeks and those eligible will receive between $1000 to $5000 depending on hours.

“Your energy and your skills can do a lot of good right now,” said Trudeau.

In addition to the new service grant, Trudeau said that the federal government will be doubling the number of student grants available for the 2020-2021 school year.

Trudeau said more than $75 million will be invested towards First Nations, Metis Nations, and Inuit students as well.

Towards the end of his announcement, the prime minister took a moment to speak directly to post-secondary students across Canada.

“These measures will help you get through this so that you can build that career and the future that you’ve been looking forward to, that we’ve been looking forward to for you,” said Trudeau.

“On the other side of this, when the economy comes roaring back, you will define our path forward. A path towards a better, more equal society and that’s what we are doing together.”

The new student measures, which will total $9 billion, still needs to pass legislation.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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