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Canadian Federal CERB Benefits will expand to include Students

Details will soon be announced for further amendments to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) to fill in the gaps of individuals experiencing income loss who were still otherwise ineligible for the program.

The CERB benefit was designed to provide income support of $2,000 per month for 4 months to those individuals who suffered and income loss due to the pandemic but who would otherwise be ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits because they were either self-employed or lacked the requisite number of insurable hours. The CERB program however still had a number of gaps where COVID-19 affected individuals still could not trigger qualification for the benefits, including students and recent graduates, low-income seasonal workers, part-time or casual workers and others.

On April 6, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan, which details remain unknown, that will attempt to fill these gaps in CERB. Trudeau announced that the CERB eligibility will be expanded to include university and college students who would not otherwise qualify, but whose plans for summer or full-time work post-graduation have been thwarted by the pandemic and resulting economic downturn.