Demand the Government of Canada to Include Students in the Emergency Response Benefit

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The Government of Canada has recently unveiled its response to massive unemployment due to the effects of Covid-19 in Canada:  Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit will provide $500/week to those who have lost employment due to Covid-19; however, the plan intentionally and cruelly leaves out a massive vulnerable group: students.

The plan stipulates that  “The benefit will be available to workers:
Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits:
Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.”

“For example if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit.”

This puts many students in a vulnerable position. Vast amounts of students have rent and essential bills to pay that exist year-round and rely on full-time summer employment as an essential way to meet these needs. Additionally, students who are contract workers during the academic year and are unable to renew their contract position, or find another summer position, due to Covid-19 are left to flounder, despite paying into the taxes that make such an emergency relief fund existent.

This purposeful exclusion of students seeking work is shameful. The Government of Canada is aware that there are few job positions for these students to occupy yet fails to extend any assistance to them. Students are in an additionally difficult position, as many are unable to seek full-time employment for a majority of the year due to their studies, and would be left in an indebted financial situation for an extended period of time.

We are calling upon the Government of Canada to extend greater support to students who are unable to find summer employment. The Government must recognize the meaningful contributions students usually make to the economy, and that the exclusion of students from relief assistance is unacceptable. Students have as much financial need as other Canadians, and the inability to recognize unique employment circumstances is inadequate.

We are asking the Government of Canada to include students who would regularly rely on summer employment in the CERB. Sign this petition to show your support for our needs.  Demand the Government of Canada to Include Students in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)