April 22, 2020
Toronto, ON: This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $9 billion student support package in response to calls from students experiencing financial insecurity as a result of COVID-19.
OUSA applauds the government on this student support package, which includes: the implementation of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB); expansion of the Canada Student Grants and Loan Program, including a more flexible eligibility criteria; financial support for students pursuing volunteer opportunities; and a $75 million increase in distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis post-secondary students.
Over the last few weeks, students have shared their stories and identified concerns about being left out of government support programs. We are grateful that the federal government has listened and responded to these concerns.
“This announcement offers peace of mind and financial security to hundreds of thousands of students and new graduates across Canada,” said William Greene, Vice President University Affairs at the Alma Mater Society at Queen’s University and OUSA Steering Committee member. “This allows students to pay their rent, buy groceries, and focus on continuing their studies and entering the workforce.”
This investment builds on existing measures put in place to support students during this time, including expanding the Canada Summer Jobs Program and providing temporary student loan repayment and interest relief to graduates. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for these initiatives, which will provide needed support to students and recent graduates, and we look forward to the roll-out of the new CESB so that students can access this support as soon as possible.
We are thankful to the Prime Minister, Minister Qualtrough, Members of Parliament, and public servants, all of whom are working tirelessly to support Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We would also like to thank the student leaders who have been instrumental in ensuring that student voices are being heard throughout COVID-19 response efforts.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Communications & Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance