COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Update
30 April 2020 at 10.10 pm PST
The Government of Canada continues to take direct action to support Canadian workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support to those who need it most.
Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, introduced legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide income support to post-secondary students who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19.
Through the CESB, currently being considered by Parliament, students who are not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would receive $1,250 per month for up to four months (May-August 2020). Students with disabilities, students with dependents would receive an additional $750. The CESB would be available to:
- students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
- students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019;
- high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months; and
- Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.
The Government of Canada is working to get money quickly into the pockets of Canadians who need it most. Students who have been unable to find employment or self-employment due to COVID-19 during the four week period for which they are applying for the CESB would be able to do so starting in May. Details will be available soon.
The CESB is a key element of the Government of Canada’s $9 billion framework to support post-secondary students and recent graduates. Comprehensive measures, including more student grants and expanded student and youth programming will help students, job seekers and youth looking for service opportunities through these extraordinary times.
24 April 2020 at 10.10 pm PST
Federal Supports for Post-Secondary Students and Recent Graduates Affected by COVID-19
The federal government has announced a package of new and enhanced financial supports for post-secondary students:
- Targeted supports for students who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
- Increased and expanded eligibility for student financial aid;
- Targeted supports for Indigenous students; and,
- Expanded supports for graduate students.
Federal Change to International Student Work Hour Limits
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced that effective immediately and until August 31, 2020, international students may work more than the 20 hours/week during their regular academic session to assist with delivering essential services or functions to protect life and property, such as the health care sector.
- International students and their employers should consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions during the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if the work the student is doing qualifies under this facilitation.
- For more information please consult the federal government news release.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Program Update
The Government of Canada has updated information on CERB program eligibility which may apply to students and international students residing in Canada. Benefit applications are set to launch April 6, 2020.
Federal Travel Restrictions Update
The Government of Canada announced exemptions to air travel restrictions in response to COVID-19. Exemptions will apply to international students, temporary foreign workers and approved permanent residents to enter Canada.
StudentAid BC would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our institutional partners who are working incredibly hard to support students during this challenging time.
Please review measures outlined below that have been put in place to mitigate any potential impacts related to COVID-19 on students who receive financial assistance.
Temporary Suspension of Repayment
Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, no payment will be required, and interest that currently applies to the federal portion of student loans will not accrue. Repayment will be paused automatically, so borrowers do not need to apply to have their repayment suspended.
For more information on the suspension of repayment, please read the COVID-19 Information Update on the StudentAid BC website.
Service Delivery Process Changes
The following process changes have been put in place to support continued delivery of services at this time:
- To ensure timely document processing, please encourage students to submit documents and correspondence through their StudentAid BC dashboard account or by email to StudentAidBC@gov.bc.ca(excluding documents requiring an ink signature).
- At this time, an exceptionhas been made to accept Part-Time Applications via document upload or email.
- Many institutions are moving toward online delivery of programs to comply with public health directives. StudentAid BC will support these measures through the following changes:
- For Program Year 2019/20 (ending July 31, 2020), existing programs moving from on site to online delivery do not require a Confirmation of Distance Education Eligibility (CODEE) form and institutions do not need to notify StudentAid BC of these changes but must ensure compliance with their regulator.
- StudentAid BC will waive online distance policy requirements for new programs for the remainder of the program year, if all other program eligibility requirements are met. However, to notify StudentAid BC of the new online program, please submit a CODEE.
- Online programs submitted for the 2020/21 Program Year will be assessed based on the current Online Program Policy.
National Student Loans Service Centre Service Disruption
- StudentAid BC is working with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) to address a temporary NSLSC systems outage that has affected disbursements. This outage resulted in disbursements being temporarily halted.
- NSLSC is working on this issue and we will provide regular updates on this matter until the issue is resolved.
- We will provide further updates as required.
Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training