By Karlie Mickanuik

The Government of Canada has many options for government funding to assist those that have lost their job or are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with multiple options available it’s difficult to know the best one to apply for. NAIT students have a few options available to them.

The first financial support available is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This funding system has been put in place for Canadians who are employed or self-employed and have had their jobs affected by COVID-19. For up to 16 weeks one can receive a $2,000 payment every four weeks.

There are some limitations to who is eligible to receive CERB. You are eligible to receive these benefits if:

    – You are over the age of 15.
    – You did not quit your job voluntarily (must have been laid off due to COVID-19).
    – You live in Canada.
    – You did not receive EI.
    – You have not already received CERB.
    – You earned at least $1,000 in income in the last 12 months.
    – This has recently changed from 5,000 dollars to allow more people to be eligible. Income from being self-employed and maternity/paternity leave is included.
    – You stopped working due to COVID-19 for at least 14 days in a row.

If you do not meet these requirements you are not eligible to receive CERB. If you do meet these requirements it is important to note that you must re-apply for this benefit every four weeks for a max of 16 weeks while you are still unemployed.

Many students do not meet the criteria of CERB. For this reason, the government has made a student benefit available to post-secondary students. Although the monthly payment is less than CERB the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is available to students who do not qualify for CERB.

The CESB is a $1,250 monthly payment available through the months of May to August. Students who have disabilities or live with someone that is dependent on them may receive $1,750 a month.

Students are not yet able to apply for this benefit however more information should be available as the federal government reveals more of its financial relief plan.

As of now students who will be eligible for this financial relief must:

    – Be enrolled in a post-secondary institution.
    – Are planning to attend post-secondary school in September 2020.
    – Recent graduates from these schools who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.
    – Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident.

International Students are not eligible for CESB. International students are still eligible to apply for CERB if they meet the other criteria.

CERB offers more monthly income but many students do not meet the criteria. CESB is easier for NAIT students to apply and receive but you will receive $750 less a month than CERB.

It’s also important to note that both CERB and CESB are considered taxable income. Students may not owe income taxes due to their income as students, but if students or individuals are collecting either form of financial support, it’s important to be aware that a portion of that income may be taxable.