Explainer: The Federal Government's New Grants and Opportunities for Students

Opportunities will help students get more work experience in their fields

PM Trudeau speaks with media during his isolation at Rideau Cottage. March 17, 2020.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced the Canada Student Service Grant which his office says will help “post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer to serve in their communities’ COVID-19 response.”

A single payment of between $1,000 to $5,000 will be given to each student or graduate. The amount given to them will depend on the hours they work.

Back in April, the government announced various ways it plans to support students through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Student Service Grant was listed along with “$80 million for the Student Work Placement Program to support up to 20,000 post-secondary students across Canada to obtain paid work experience related to their field of study,”

The launch of the Canada Student Service Grant includes the “I Want to Help” platform, which can be used to find opportunities in the not-for-profit sector.

Unlike the Canada Emergency Student Benefit — which provides post-secondary and high school students and graduates with financial aid from May to August if they are unable to find a job due to the pandemic — the Canada Student Service Grant requires candidates to work 100 hours to receive the minimum amount of $1,000 and 500 hours for $5,000.

In order for students to be eligible for the grant, they must be 30 years old or younger. They must also be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a student with refugee status. Post-secondary graduates must not have graduated earlier than December 2019 and post-secondary students must be enrolled in all three semesters for 2020.

Applicants must register by Aug. 21, and applications are due by Nov. 6.

WE Charity was selected to choose work placements for candidates. However, on July 3, CBC reported that the federal government and WE Charity will no longer be working together to administer the grant program.

A statement from WE Charity shows that 35,000 people have applied for the program since its launch.

In the Prime Minister’s media release, the government listed an additional $186 million investment along with the $80 million announced for the Student Work Placement Program. This program is intended to help students gain experience for their future careers.

New internships are also available for post-secondary students across Canada through Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization.

Federal Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger said in the Prime Minister’s media release that the program is “an innovative way to provide support, helping students gain valuable experience as they volunteer to serve and strengthen their communities.” He says it will “ensure students are in a financial position to continue their studies or careers.”

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