by Jake Cardinal
(April 30, 2020) – For students who do not know how to pay their bills for the months of May to August, Justin Trudeau announced the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit as “The Government of Canada recognizes that students and recent graduates are being significantly affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The emergency fund includes $9 billion dollars which would go towards supporting students during the summer months. However, due to Governmental restrictions and rules, the CESB has not been put in place yet, but has been introduced to parliament and is currently under consideration.
This benefit, announced on April 22, was made for post-secondary students and recent graduates who are not eligible for CERB or EI and are unable to secure a job during the pandemic. The fund is expected to pay out $1,250 dollars a month to those approved.
Despite the Kenney Government’s attempts at downsizing Alberta education (post-secondary budgets are expected to drop by 20% over the next three years) students in Alberta should apply for the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit if eligible. The Department of Finance Canada states that “in March 2020, the number of post-secondary working students, aged 15-29, dropped by 28% from February 2020.”
As for Indigenous students specifically, the Canadian Government has provided a single paragraph on the Economic Response Plan website which states: “We are providing $75.2 million to offer additional distinctions-based support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary students.” As to what that means, watch for more information over the next few weeks.
The biggest challenge COVID has created in North America is the choice between economics or health and safety. Judging by the amount of money listed earlier in this article, it is easy to see why.
The CESB is one of the many actions that Canada is taking in order to salvage what is left of the economy.
The province of Alberta will be releasing their plans to re-open the province and their plans regarding the current restrictions today during the April 30, 2020 3:30pm update. However, Premier Jason Kenney stated in an address on Tuesday April 7, 2020 – less than a month ago – to Albertans that 6,600 could possibly die due to COVID-19 if Albertans could not follow the province’s restrictions properly.
While other provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan put forth plans to open up their economies, Alberta is just now releasing their plans to do so. This comes after the Jason Kenney government was awarded the “Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy” by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).
In other words, The Government of Alberta is the most secretive in all of Canada.
Keep an eye out for Jason Kenney’s update and stay safe.
Jake Cardinal is a Local Initiative Reporter for Alberta Native News.