News

BHER applauds federal support for post-secondary students during COVID-19

April 22, 2020

OTTAWA, O.N. ー The Business / Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) welcomes the announcement of a $9 billion financial aid package for post-secondary students and recent graduates made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today. As part of this initiative, BHER will create at least 5,000 new student placements in collaboration with its members and partners from across the work-integrated learning (WIL) ecosystem.  

“Now more than ever, we need to find new ways to tap into the creativity and energy of our students. By connecting students to Canadian companies that are dealing with myriad COVID-19-related challenges, they can build their skills and networks while contributing meaningfully to a new Canadian economy,” said Dr. Valerie Walker, BHER Chief Executive Officer. “This initiative allows BHER to bring together innovative and committed employers to support students with quality learning opportunities during this challenging time.” 

In addition to the creation of student placements, the package includes a number of measures to support students throughout the summer, enable them to continue their studies in the fall, and gain valuable experience to begin their careers. These include the launch of new initiatives such as: 

  • A proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 for students with dependents or a disability from May to August. 
  • The introduction of a Canada Student Service Grant will help students gain volunteer experience while supporting their communities during COVID‑19 by providing up to $5,000 towards their education in the fall. 

“Today’s announcement will come as a relief to many students who have been struggling and were worried about their futures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic impacts of COVID-19 revealed immense financial burdens on students, including major disruptions to their summer employment opportunities,” continued Walker. 

The package also expands existing programs to create 116,000 additional jobs, placements and training opportunities, while increasing support available through financial aid and federal research grants. For 2020-2021 these measures include: 

  • Doubling Canada Student Grants, including those for students with dependents and permanent disabilities, for all eligible students to up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students. 
  • Broadening eligibility for financial assistance by removing the expected student and spousal contributions.
  • Increasing the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student through the Canada Student Loans Program from $210 to $350.
  • Investing an additional $75.2 million in existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students.
  • Extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships and providing an additional $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. 

“In recent weeks, students have seen their employment and work-integrated learning opportunities decrease significantly.  Today’s announcement is an important investment in our students, who will drive our economy for years to come,” said Walker.

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About the Business/Higher Education Roundtable

The Business / Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Since 2015, BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians, boost innovation and drive collaboration. Learn more at www.bher.ca.

Media Contact:

Brianna Workman – Associate, Communications – Business/Higher Education Roundtable – Brianna.Workman@bher.ca