Updated: Government of Canada Expands Student Access to Emergency Funding

By Logan Bright Modified on April 23, 2020

Changes to CERB will mean more students can access COVID-19 relief money.

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Canadian students will now be eligible for the $2,000 per month CERB benefit to help with funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is now open!

Current post-secondary students, as well as new high school grads, and those who expect to graduate high school in 2020, can apply for up to 16 weeks of funding through the summer. If you can't find a job and need money to pay for school next year, check out this article on how to apply for CESB!

Note that if you receive CESB, you cannot receive CERB, described below. CESB is a program to support students who can't find a summer job. CERB is an employment insurance program for those who lost the job they had! Learn more about the benefits available to you.



Update: $9 billion in financial aid for students

On April 22, the Government of Canada announced the world's largest financial aid package for students affected by COVID-19.

If your summer job plans were disrupted by the pandemic, or you're a new grad who hasn't yet secured a job, check out this article to learn more about the grants available to you. If you earned at least $5,000 last year, and were already employed but laid off when the virus hit, you're likely eligible for CERB, as described below.


On April 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced updates to the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) which will allow more students to receive support.

Seasonal workers, and people who make under $1,000 a month due to cut hours at work, will now also qualify.

Summer job out of the question? You may qualify for CERB

If you're a student who had plans for summer employment that are no longer possible, you should be eligible for the emergency benefit under the new changes.

If you're struggling financially with the effects of COVID-19, consider applying for CERB, which provides $2,000 per month in emergency relief, for up to four months.

How to apply for CERB

The federal government CERB website hasn't yet been updated to reflect the latest student-focused changes. Still, the process to apply for CERB is simple. You can apply online or over the phone.

Apply online through CRA My Account

You can log into CRA My Account and follow the instructions to get set up.

Apply over the phone

If you prefer, you can call in to an automated, toll-free phone line at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041. You'll need your social insurance number (SIN) and your postal code handy. The system will guide you through the steps.

Regardless of which way you apply, you should get access to funds within 3 business days for direct deposit, or roughly 10 days for a mailed cheque.

When to apply for CERB

To best serve the millions of people applying for CERB, the government encourages you to apply on specific days of the week, depending on your birth date.

  • Born in January, February, or March — apply on Mondays
  • Born in April, May, or June — apply on Tuesdays
  • Born in July, August, or September — apply on Wednesdays
  • Born in October, November, or December — apply on Thursdays
  • Born any time through the year — apply on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

More details and support are sure to become available in the coming days and weeks. We'll keep you updated on the latest. Remember, this crisis will pass!


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