New Emergency Student Benefit is step in the right direction, but still leaves some behind

OTTAWA, April 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Students welcome today’s announcement from the federal government introducing the new Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which will provide $1,250 a month from May to August to students who aren’t able to find summer employment.
“Students have been asking the government for weeks to include them in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or introduce a similar program,” said Sofia Descalzi, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We are glad to see the government has listened to students and is taking this step to provide some much-needed relief.”However, students are disappointed to see that the benefit is much lower than the $2,000 available for CERB applicants. Even students with dependents or who have a disability will only receive up to $1,750. “Students have the same expenses as everyone else. They still have to pay for rent, groceries, and other living expenses. This is why we have advocated for students to receive the same benefit as other Canadians,” added Descalzi.One major group being left behind in the Canada Emergency Student Benefit is international students.“It is no surprise that international students are being left out, as always,” said Wesam AbdElhamid Mohamed, International Students Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students. “Everyone in Canada is experiencing challenges and uncertainties related to COVID-19, and international students are no exception. Many of us have lost jobs, we have limited access to supports, and we are away from our families. International students contribute billions of dollars to Canada’s economy and should be included in these emergency relief measures.”Other measures announced today include an increase in summer jobs for students, an extension of scholarships and fellowships for graduate students, increased funding for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, a volunteering grant for the summer and a doubling of Canada Student Grants for the 2020-21 academic year.The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 500,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.To schedule an interview, please contact Geneviève Charest at [email protected]
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