According to a post on the Canadian government website, CERB is available to those resident in Canada who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job; who had an 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.
“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”
“Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements,” the government statement explained.
The statement explained that the benefit is “only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19”.
“If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the benefit.
“For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify,” it read.
The announcement has raised concerns for some students in Canada, including graduating students looking for summer work who won’t qualify for the benefit.
“Extremely disappointing to hear that the CERB announced from the federal government does not support students who had intended to work this upcoming summer. This gap in eligibility means that students may not be able to afford rent or tuition in the fall semester,” wrote one academic officer on Twitter.
“Many students do not qualify for [Employment Insurance] and rely on seasonal summer employment as a means of collecting savings for the year ahead. Students who have already had many plans derailed, are left wondering how they will get by and/or if they will return to school in the fall.”
Speaking with The PIE News, Philip Shea, an international education specialist based in Ontario, suggested that many international students would be eligible considering their allocation of 20 hours per week part-time study.
Many working in Canada for four or five months would have earned around CAN$5,000, he estimated.
CBIE president and CEO, Larissa Bezo, described it as an “unprecedented time of challenge for students studying in Canada”, both domestic and international students.
“Education institutions across Canada are deeply committed to providing the necessary supports to international students presently studying in Canada, including academic accommodations, support for their mental well-being, emergency financial assistance for students in need, housing support, technical support, and the likes,” she told The PIE.
“In addition to the initiatives and efforts of individual educational institutions, we are encouraged with the responsiveness of policymakers in responding to the input of key stakeholders in working to quickly to introduce greater flexibility to existing immigration and other frameworks in Canada to support our students at this critical time.”