COVID-19: UMSU Welcomes the Opening of the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)


Winnipeg, MB – Post-secondary students facing a loss of summer jobs and income due to the coronavirus will be able to apply on Friday for direct financial help from the federal government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced that as of May 15, eligible post-secondary students can apply for the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), the key plank of Ottawa’s $9 billion student aid package passed in the House of Commons on April 29. The amount available for students with accessibility needs or dependents has also increased from $1,750 to $2,000, while the general monthly benefit remains $1,250.

UMSU played an active role in the creation of the CESB, having worked in April with the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) and other student advocacy organizations to establish a national student survey on concerns over the exclusion of students from the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit, submitting the findings to the federal government. This joint advocacy by students was essential in prompting financial relief specifically for students.

UMSU welcomes the financial support from Ottawa, as well as local efforts such as the University of Manitoba’s $1.2 million Student Emergency Fund – which was exhausted after 2,000 students applied within the first 48 hours. Recently, applications for student emergency relief have also opened for students in the U of M Faculty of Arts and the U of M Faculty of Science.

This generous support is incredibly appreciated by the student community. However, it remains that minimal support is available for international students at both the federal and provincial levels.

Said UMSU President, Jelynn Dela Cruz: “Echoing UMSU’s previous sentiments towards the establishment of CESB, we are happy to see this increased monetary support for students from the federal government. Meanwhile, there are still critical members of our student body who are falling through the cracks. International students are vital to this University community, to this province, and to this country. Therefore, they deserve access to the same relief that their peers have and more.”

Addressing the Provincial government, Dela Cruz continues: “Just a week ago, the Premier said ‘Students are the future of this province’. Any cut to post-secondary operating grants – with a mere 5% amounting to a $17.3 million reduction – is a cut to students. Seeing successive cuts from year to year lowers the ceiling of resources that Universities can offer us. At times like this especially, it’s disheartening to see this continue.”

UMSU will be engaging with the International Students’ Centre promptly to discuss resources and relief further.

For media inquiries, please contact:

UMSU President, Jelynn Dela Cruz – e.

UMSU Vice President Advocacy, Kristin Smith – e.

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