Who's Looking Out For Post-Secondary Students?
While the Canada Emergency Response Benefit reaches a lot of people, it misses the mark when it comes to post-secondary students. Specifically, the eligibility criteria stipulates that “The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. For example if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit”.
Hats off to the BC government for stepping up to provide $3.5M emergency funding supports for post-secondary students. The non-repayable emergency assistance can be used for living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely.
What’s the solution? The Government of Alberta needs to respond with something similar, and needs to lobby the Federal Government to include students in the CERB. Post-secondary students need work/income to survive and in many cases save up for their next term. Postponing repayment of student loans is great, but only applicable to graduating students. Those who continue won’t have to repay their loans until they graduate.
We can’t let post-secondary students fall through the cracks. Along with our young people currently in the workforce, they are the future of our province. Here’s hoping the Alberta Government and/or the Federal Government step up to provide the assistance they need.
This is a guest post from our Shadow Minister for Municipal Affairs, Kevin Smook. It will appear in the Camrose Booster as a letter to the editor.