April 22, 2020 – Charlottetown, PE

The UPEI Student Union and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) are pleased with the student aid package announced today by the Government of Canada. The package will bring significant relief to many students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will provide valuable support to at-risk students and recent graduates. 

“This kind of comprehensive aid package is key to ensuring that students and recent graduates are protected during this pandemic, ready to return to classes and the workplace once physical distancing measures are reduced,” added Adam Brown, CASA Chairperson. “This announcement includes immediate financial relief for students and recent graduates who do not qualify for the CERB, while also making sure that students are able to access and afford their education moving forward.”

Today’s announcement expands the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 response by providing a $9 billion aid package to postsecondary students and recent graduates. Students and recent graduates who do not qualify for the existing Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be eligible for another Emergency Student Benefit worth up to $1,750 per month in relief. In addition, the government has also committed to doubling the Canada Student Grant for the 2020-21 academic year, along with an increase in Canada Student Loans that will bring weekly allowances from $210 to $350. The government has also pledged to invest an additional $75 million in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Metis Education Strategy, and Inuit Education Strategy. Further, $291 million in funding has been committed to the Canada Granting Agency to allow for student researcher extensions. Today’s announcement also commits to creating the new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to students who volunteer for a set number of hours during the pandemic.

“We were pleased to see this aid package. We hope the CESB will be available to international students, as these students have access to limited provincial and federal aid thus far. This would be a progressive measure to ensure these students are not disproportionately affected or falling through the cracks” said UPEISU Vice President Academic & External, Sweta Daboo.

The UPEISU and CASA have been committed to ensuring that the federal government safeguards the future by protecting students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had previously called upon the federal government to provide serious relief for students by: Establishing an Emergency Response Benefit stream for students and new graduates, increasing the Canada Student Grant for low- and middle-income students, waiving the requirement for the fixed student contribution, permitting international students to travel to Canada in September 2020, and extending the research funding for student research funding issued by Canada’s Granting Agencies. The UPEISU and CASA applaud the Government of Canada for taking action on our specific recommendations.