Summary of COVID-19 Student Supports & Eligibility

as of April 28, 2020

Federal Government:

Canadian Emergency Student Bursary (CESB): A $1,250/month taxable benefit for Canadian post-secondary students who are unable to work due to COVID-19. There is also a $500 top up, bringing total supports to $1,750 for students with a disability or with children/dependents

  • Eligibility:
    • Enrolled in a post-secondary institution in the 2019-2020 year. 
    • Planned to work in the summer of 2020 
    • Students will be eligible to earn to $1,000 a month from a job while in receipt of the CESB.
    • Students already receiving the CERB will be ineligible for the CESB.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): A $2,000/month taxable income support payment program provided for up to 4 months to individuals who have lost their income because of COVID-19.

  • Students will qualify for the CERB if they: 
    • Were employed and earned an income of $5,000 in the last year and lost that employment due to COVID-19 related reasons;
    • Students who get infected with COVID-19 and lose their employment income because of it; 
  • Students will not qualify for the CERB if they: 
    • Were unemployed anyways; 
    • Lost a future employment opportunity due to COVID-19; 
    • Lost their employment for reasons unrelated to COVID-19. 
  • International students qualify for the CERB if they meet the employment/income requirements.

Canada Student Loan and Grant Program Amendments: Increase from $3,000 for a low-income student to $6,000. This grant is still eligible for top ups from the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities and the Canada Student Grant for Students with Dependents

  • Weekly loan maximums will be increasing from $210 to $350 a week.
  • Eligibility for the Canada Student Loan Program will be broadened.
  • Student and Spousal contributions will be removed.
  • Repayment on all Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprenticeship Loans paused, interest-free, until September 30, 2020

Canada Summer Jobs: Provides 70,000 jobs per year. Four main alterations to the existing Canada Summer Jobs program: 

  • Increase the wage subsidy
  • Extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • Allow employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
  • Allow employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.

Indigenous Students Supports: $75 million in additional funds for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Metis Education Strategy, and Inuit Education Strategy.

International Students Supports: The federal government has lifted restrictions on international student visas that restricted the number of hours a student could work from 20 to 40. International students starting their Canadian study program in the coming weeks will not be penalized for online coursework if they eventually apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit.

Canada Student Service Grant: Students who volunteer for a set number of hours will be eligible for a grant up to $5,000.

Research Grant Deadlines: $291 million committed to allow extensions of Canada Granting Agency funding for 3 to 4 months for student researchers.

Find out all about support to individuals here.

Provincial Government:

  • Six-month interest-free moratorium on student loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans (March 18).
  • Suspension of hospital parking fees for health-care workers and the general public (April 2).
  • Additional changes to the Employment Standards legislation to provide unpaid, job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or isolated family members (April 6).
  • Find out all about support for Albertans here.


  • Students enrolled in spring and summer classes will not be charged UPass and Campus Recreation fees, as these services will not be available.
  • Support for graduate students:
    • Increase the GSA Emergency bursary from $100,000 to $500,000 (applications can be received all year-long for urgent and temporary emergency needs)
    • Provide an additional $500,000 for GAT appointments for the Fall semester
  • All 2020 Spring and Summer term courses will be offered online. More spring/summer course and section offerings for students. Students now have access to more than 100 additional course/section offerings for the spring/summer terms.
  • Increased support for online teaching and learning
    • The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is also recruiting graduate students as learning technology production coaches to support academic staff teaching this spring and summer. For more information on these positions, visit Career Services (posting 65305).
  • Payroll deductions for faculty and staff parking permits on main campus and Spy Hill will be suspended, effective April 1 until the work from home direction is rescinded.
  • Find out all about students updates here.

Current GSA Advocacy Priorities:

  • Federally:
    • Support to international students through COVID-19 by:
      • Providing income support through the CESB and access to work opportunities, 
      • Ensuring international students with a valid study permit can travel to Canada for enrolment in Fall 2020. 
    • The inclusion of T4A as acceptable proof of income for the CERB application (this will ensure Graduate students income received as scholarship counts as income to meet the CERB income threshold)
    • The smooth implementation of announced student supports to ensure monies and opportunities go directly in students’ hands.
    • Increase the age limit for the Canada Summer Job Program to ensure graduate students are eligible.
  • Provincially:
    • Direct income and employment support to students to close gaps left by the Federal Support Program
    • A deferral of the Budget 2020 priorities for the Post-Secondary Sector to 2021, including the implementation of Outcomes-Based Funding.
  • Institutionally:
    • Increased financial supports for students 
    • Joint advocacy with UCalgary Administration and SU to the City of Calgary for flexibility with the low-income pass eligibility to allow students to access it during this period.

For more information about the GSA Advocacy, visit: