No, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is not available for international students.
For those who need more details
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was a financial support program established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided temporary income support to those who had lost their jobs or suffered a significant drop in income due to the pandemic. However, international students were not eligible for the CERB.
The government of Canada stated that only Canadian citizens and permanent residents were eligible for this financial assistance program, as they are “subject to Canadian tax law and contribute to the Canadian economy.” International students, by contrast, are considered temporary residents in Canada, and are not subject to the same tax obligations and benefits as citizens and permanent residents.
According to the Canadian government website, “International students may be eligible for other federal, provincial, or territorial financial support programs, depending on their eligibility.” However, these programs are limited and may not provide the same level of financial support as the CERB.
It is important for international students to check with their educational institutions or the government of the province they are studying in to find out about any available financial support programs.
As famous Canadian politician Justin Trudeau once said: “No one should have to choose between taking a sick day—or facing eviction—and keeping their job.” The Canadian government has tried to provide financial support to its citizens and permanent residents during these challenging times, but unfortunately, international students did not qualify for the CERB.
Table: Comparison of eligibility for CERB between citizens/permanent residents and international students
|Eligibility criteria||Citizens and Permanent Residents||International Students|
|Tax obligations||Subject to Canadian tax law||May not be subject to Canadian tax law|
|Residency status||Citizen or permanent resident||Temporary resident|
|Eligibility for CERB||Eligible||Not eligible|
- According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, there were over 640,000 international students in Canada in 2019.
- International students are a vital part of the Canadian economy, contributing over $21 billion to the economy and creating over 170,000 jobs.
- Many international students were affected by the pandemic, as they lost their part-time jobs and had to switch to online classes.
- Some provinces, such as British Columbia, provided limited financial support for international students during the pandemic.
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Other answers to your question
You may have been eligible for the CERB. You must have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and met the other requirements for the benefit. You were an international student who was studying in Canada and working part-time.
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Eligible applicants could have received $1,250 for a 4-week period for a maximum of 16 weeks, between May 10 and August 29, 2020. An extra $750 (total benefit amount of $2,000) for each 4-week period was available, if you had a disability or dependants. The last day to apply was September 30, 2020.
This new grant would provide income support to post-secondary students who will experience financial hardship over the Summer due to COVID-19. The CESB will be delivered by CRA and more details will be communicated.