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Canada: some int’l students eligible for support

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides temporary income support of CAN$500 a week for up to 16 weeks to those who stopped working because of COVID-19, has been confirmed available for international students if they meet certain requirements. 

Some international students remaining in Canada may be eligible for financial support if they have lost their job because of Covid-19. Photo: The PIE

"The benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19"

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.”

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51 Responses to Canada: some int’l students eligible for support

  1. Am Agnes Boma and I desire to attain a Bachelor’s degree but due to funds I can’t continue with my studies .How would you help me am based in Zambia

  2. May I request the Canadian government to please reconsider emergency payments to recent international students, as Service Canada, which issues sin for employment purposes is currently closed,causing hardships to such students who have to pay rents, expenses for food etc.

    • I think you can apply sin no online in service Canada website like what i did . I renew my sin online application.

      • Well, international students have to show they have enough money to pay their expenses for the time their courses lasts, it is one of the requirements to get their visa, so I’m not sure why they would have to need government assistance

        • Well. Don’t show that you are an idiot. The students go to other countries to study because they want to attain better income job from that country. Don’t assume that the country has a good academic institutions. Staying there without a partime job will lead to more expenses which the students cannot meet. And its bad to force them to work during this pandemic risking their life. I expect a developed country to give financial aid to all international students or self claim as under developed. I see even the developing countries helping foreign nationals by lending free services.

      • You have to show that you have enough financial funds for a year, but not for the entire course. So if you are enrolled in a four year course, and now cannot get a summer job due to the current situation, this is a huge problem. As international student, I also cannot go home to get a summer job there.

      • because in their hometowns which is where the money come from (normally from the family) the family members are also without a job, making difficult to themselvs even to eat and pay bills.
        can you imagine how difficult it is to pay for your own bills without a job + supporting financially someone in a another country? do this having your job is ok because you are ready for this and you know how this will gonna be, but with the current situation in the world this might became impossible.
        LETS ALSO CONSIDER HOW DESESPERATE IS HAVE NO MONEY BEING THOUSANDS OF MILES FAR FROM YOUR FAMILY.

    • I am an international student and came here in jan 2020 and don’t eligible for both EI and CERB . Is there any benefit for us ??

    • I don’t mean to be rude but why should the government pay for non residents? This is for Canadian citizens and landed immigrants only.

  3. Students are the biggest group who need financial support to avoid traveling and control corona spread. After closing school, they can use the money to pay food and rent rather than having to go back their back home. That will be disaster to the world if all the students start traveling at the hard time.

    • If you came to Canada as an international student that should mean you should already have money. You should not qualify for this aid in my opinion

      • Hey you better have not said that. You don’t know the stress that the families of international students face including loans etc. The point isn’t whether or not they have money. They already pay 3x the domestic students which sucks to them and when they’re devoid of such a benefit, it makes them feel worse. So think from the other side of the coin before you open your mouth!

      • Why do I need to pay the university tuition if I can not use any facilities and do not have any courses during the summer semester? 7,000 dollars for what? At least, during this period the government could decrease the tuition to be more reasonable. I did not come to Canada to pay 7000 for nothing.

  4. Hey, I am an International Student, completed my studies and applied for the work permit and I lost my job due to COVID-19. The problem is my SIN expired a few days ago, am I still eligible for CERB ?

      • human right are irrelevant. Canadian students are the future tax payers of Canada, any bailout money given by the government is future debt in the form of additional taxes on these same students. the government has a duty to it’s citizens, not foreign citizens, ask your own government for help.

  5. I have a suggestion. I am a student at Conestoga College-Cambridge. For lockers, we need to get our things in the locker such as books for assignments. So, I was hoping if you can make schedules for that. For example, on April 11, 2020, the Electro-Mechanical Students have to get their things in locker for that specific day and time.

  6. I spoke with services Canada, and they said I do not apply. I have been unemployed for some time. I am at home looking after my children, they are home from school. I cannot anymore look for work, because everything is shutdown.

    International Student and foreign workers can receive the CERB, they are neither Canadian Citizens nor permanent residents. While I am a Canadian Citizen, paid taxes all my life, and I am not eligible. While Mr. Trudeau said he will help all Canadians, Well he missed me and many who are in the same-boat.

    “If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the benefit.”

    It is not fair, Trudeau should first provide services and assistance to Canadians first, not the other-way.

  7. iam a student in canada came in january. i didnt have a income 5000 upto now.will i be able to apply

  8. I have completed my diploma is IBM in Toronto and applied for work permit and I am not in a position to receive my permit or a job. Pls help if can get funding from government

  9. Govt should also provide benefits to international students who are working in grocery stores and providing essential services risking their life.

  10. the moot point is are Canadian citizens and students who are residing internationally and who may have lost their jobs being given reciprocal funding help from the government of those countries whose citizens are being afforded this Canadian funding on Canadian taxpayers monies? Canada needs to look at reciprocity. If this is not happening and might I dare say it aloud that it is definitely not happening, that is Canadian citizens are receiving no such funding overseas and they are having to rush back home unemployed then Canada should use those funds for their own citizens and not for foreign students who came to Canada with documents that verified that they had enough funds to support themselves in their studies. They came to Canada to study and not to work. This funding offered by Canada to foreign students who came to Canada to study should be withdrawn and foreign students who cannot support themselves in Canada during this time should go back to their home country just like Canadian citizens returning to theirs.

  11. my son as an international student studing at twelve grade at J.Addison school , is elegible to receicve goverment help .As his parents are out of job and can not afford to send some money to him.if no support ,he has to quite the school and come back to his country stay with his parents.please help all international students.

  12. My son meets all the requirements except he did not earn $5000, in the past 12 months. He is employed but as a part time worker in high school, he is not eligible for ei or cerb. He made $4600. Has not had a shift since before March 15 . He should be eligible!!

  13. Yeah more $ for drinking. At my University, many of these international students gather in parking lots and drink late at night.

  14. A Canadian student stuck abroad, born in Canada and is a resident of Canada, he has filed Income tax $5,000+ in 2019 and for the past 5 years, paid EI but never apply EI before. But he went overseas to study at university at the beginning of year 2020 and paid for one year school fee. But now he is stuck overseas because there is no flight to return to Canada. He cannot find the job now because a lot of businesses are closed in his country.
    Can the government tell me if he eligible for CERB because he met the requirements of CERB and since the international student in Canada can get CERB

    • To me you look like a person having background of India. Do you feel a pain in saying such things? I pity on people like you honestly. I’ve been in Canada for more than an year and have contributed to the economy. Yes, we come to Canada to make our living which we couldn’t in our own country. But, for people who belong to the same community I really wish your children do not grow as ignorant as you’re.

  15. I am glad that International students & foreign workers do not receive this. There are flocks and flocks of them coming here & our government cannot sustain them.

    They have been here a short time compared to some who have contributed to the society and economy much longer. Govt should ensure they are taken care of first.

    Intl students can always go back to countries where they came from. This is our ONLY home and we have no where to go and need this for survival. And if you can afford to come on international fees, you much have rich parents that can fund your tuition or get loans back home.

    Hope our govt stops handing out visa and PR until this corona is over.

  16. Hii, i am international student came to canada in january from india.
    I had not worked here last year and now i do not have any work because of COVID-19. I am also not getting CERB or EI. Now i have nothing to pay my expenses i also need financial help from canadian government.

  17. My son who is a Tanzanian National is still in Canada – Kelowna. He was unable to leave as Kelowna airport was closed. He will continue to stay in the university campus which we have to pay for and it was not in our budget. Is he eligible to get financial assistance?

  18. Sorry forgot to mention, he was unable to get any work during the course of the year, neither on campus nor outside. Kindly assist.

  19. Yes, I do agree with you that the Canadian government has to provide support to its people. As they are tax payers right. Aren’t international students human beings, didn’t they spend dollars on their tution fees and other expenses to get enrolled in colleges and Universities. Ok if the government is going to give them some assistance during this hard times then what problem. Even they have a right to live. Does it mean that they hv to die of starvation just because they don’t belong to your country.? Be a little human.

  20. I’m an international student and I do receive funds from my parents during the academic year but have to work during the summer….Everything is closed back home because of the pandemic, so there’s no way I can receive funds from my parents and I also can’t work now to sustain myself….

    So I think international students should be considered, we pay 5 times the fee,everywhere back home is locked down that means no funds,one also cant work..
    There’s rent,feeding that one needs but cant afford all for now
    So we are also fucked as the rest and also some are here alone without family members or family friends that they can run to during this pandemic.
    I pay tax but it isn’t up to the required amount so yeah
    I going to have to survive this month,and possibly till the end of next month without any money….yeah goodluck to me and the rest if international students that we are inside this unfortunate boat together

  21. I think some of you should give your head a shake, not all international students can afford the full cost of an education here. I personally know of many students who are fully funded by their parents and then choose to sit around and not attend classes like they’re on a vacation. Many others do everything they can to make it here to study in Canada. Summer jobs are a huge part of their finances and as long as taxes are being deducted from their income and do a tax return, they SHOULD be eligible. Not all will meet the requirements of the earned income level for CERB but there still should be a form of support, maybe similar to hardship support. Some will say that international students pay much higher tuition because they are not citizens or pay taxes, that will be the case for those who are financial secure ,others need to work. You need a temporary residents visa to study and if you need to work you need the work permit . So for most students who are serious about their education, they may be temporary residents of Canada but they’re going to be here for some time. Give them the support.

  22. International students should be eligible but definitely not for the same amount as Canadian citizens. Priority focus should be on Canadian students and citizens and I know many people who still cannot support themselves with the grants they are receiving. Prioritization in a crisis like this is very crucial to ensuring the success of our Canadian born students. If you’re an international student, the decision for you to come here was at your own will. At the end of this pandemic, we as the taxpayers are responsible for paying everything off and i can guarantee that majority of taxpayers do not want to see money going into the hands of international students BEFORE completely dealing with the Canadian citizens.

  23. Please give some relief to students paying 75$ per month for MSP in British Columbia as it is difficult for international students to afford due to COVID

  24. International students should get some benefits, not the same as canadian citizens but they should not be left out.
    International students are encouraged to study in Canada through university fairs and school visits by Canadian recruiters, who proved to these students by presenting statistics that their decision to study in Canada would be of mutual benefits. Canada needs these brilliant minds and these brilliant minds need opportunities. International students should in no way feel as if they are being parasitic to the Canadian economy if a global disaster prevents them from holding their side of the bargain.

  25. I worked always and paid employment in last 30 years being in Canada.Lay off is only paying me $500.00 a week, Not fair,compare to everyone else is getting the same money,
    we should be given extra,usually make $54 k a year.
    Nice to help everyone should be according to what we paid

  26. It simply not fair that international students don’t receive any government funding. We bring lots of money to the economy of Canada and bring so much love and work into the well being of this country. BUT what they do is only increase the working hours. It’s just disrespectful. I am very disappointed about this Governments choice.

  27. Hi , i am a international student. I started my college 7th of January at mohawk college Hamilton and started finding work but didn’t get work anywhere . And soon in april due to this corona virus everything got closed. Am I eligible for any benefit? No doubt there would be so many international students having same situation like me but did anyone considered it? I think no . We are suffering more then other students. Everything is locked down so it is not worth to exceed working hours for international students because nobody is giving work to us because of corona virus. Even in agencies and food production factories they have especially mentioned that we are not hiring international students. Where would we go ? Government should make some benefits for us too . We are not expecting too much but we are expecting the financial help so that we can at least pay our rents and could eat properly. We are relying on our GIC and it is not enough for us . And also we have to pay our tution fees further. I request to Canadian government please think about our situation. Please.

  28. i earned 4170$ till march . i lose my job due to covid 19 . Am i eligible for any benefit. I am international student

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