International students in Canada — many of whom have lost their part-time jobs due to the pandemic — want to know which financial aid packages they are eligible for. Is it the CESB or CERB for international students? Or both?
The most recent announcement was about the CESB (Canada Emergency Student Benefit), but it will not benefit international students in Canada.
According to CTVNews, the office of employment minister Carla Qualtrough has clarified that the CESB will only be available for Canadians studying in Canada or Canadian citizens who are completing their post-secondary degrees abroad.
The CERB, on the other hand — which stands for Canada Emergency Response Benefit — is one financial aid package that international students in Canada will be able to benefit from.
According to the government website, the CERB is eligible for those residing in Canada who is over 15 years old, had to stop working because of reasons related to COVID-19, earned at least CA$5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application, and who have not voluntarily quit their jobs.
Not all international students are happy about being left out of the CESB as they don’t qualify for the CERB.
Mr. Justin Trudeau It is not fair that international students excluded. International students contribute 3 times local students tuition. A lot of them were affected by covid19 as well. I hope CESB can offer helps for international students who stay in Canada during this period.
— Cara Tan (@CaraTan11) April 22, 2020
However, there are those who have acknowledged the financial assistance and are glad to receive it in the form of the CERB.
Karanveer Singh, a former international student in Canada now on a work permit, told Tribune India that eligible international students can receive temporary income support for up to 16 weeks through the CERB and praised their responsiveness in helping those affected by the pandemic.
He said, “Information regarding all help is being regularly updated on the government’s website. Even if a person fails to clear the eligibility criterion for one or two reasons, the help is not denied.”
The government has also temporarily removed working restrictions to allow international students to work for a maximum 20 hours a week while classes are in session, as long as they work in essential services such as healthcare or food supply.