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Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

To provide financial support to eligible students and new graduates, the government has introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

The CESB is a program that provides $1,250 per month to students who qualify, or $2,000 per month for eligible students
with dependents or disabilities.

Who is eligible?

There are generally two requirements for an individual to be eligible for the CESB:

  1. They have to qualify as a “student” as defined under the rules, and
  2. They would have to have lost a source of income due to the pandemic.

Definition of “student”

The CESB will be available for a student who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered with Indian status under the Indian Act, a permanent resident or a refugee. These individuals would also have to meet either of the following criteria:

  1. be enrolled, at any point in time between December 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020, in a post-secondary educational program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate; or
  2. have graduated from secondary school in 2020, applied to enroll in a post-secondary program that will begin before February 1, 2021 and will enroll in the program if accepted.

It is important to note that an international student (e.g. a student on a study permit in Canada) would generally not be considered a “student” and would not be eligible for the CESB. However, a student that meets the eligibility criteria above can qualify if they are studying either in Canada or abroad.

Loss of income

The purpose of this measure is to help students who no longer have a source of income—whether they once had it or would have had it. Therefore, there are additional requirements that centre around the ability for a student to attain work. Generally, for a student to qualify, their ability to attain work would have to be negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Furthermore, the student must not have received:

  • income from employment or self-employment,
  • employment insurance benefits,
  • the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), or
  • certain amounts under a provincial plan with respect to childcare for newborn babies or children under adoption.

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