Student groups urging feds to reallocate funding from WE Charity program to the CESB


Published July 22, 2020 at 12:10 am


The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and Don’t Forget Students have launched a petition today asking the federal government to cancel the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) program and to reallocate funds to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

“Students have waited for this program to roll out since April and now they’re told they have to wait even longer, this is unacceptable,” Sofia Descalzi, national chairperson of the CFS, said in a news release.

“Piecemeal programs like the Canada Student Service Grant are not helping students. Since the beginning of this crisis, we have been calling to expand CESB to $2,000 a month, to include all recent graduates, and international students,” she continued.

On June 25, the federal government announced WE Charity would administer the $912 million student volunteer program. However, a political scandal has resulted in the deal falling through just one week after the announcement.

It is still unclear how the government intends to relaunch the program, despite the fact summer is coming to an end—there’s only one month left for students to accumulate hours to receive the grant.

Youth unemployment rose to 29.4 per cent in May, and many students were counting on the program to help pay for their tuition in the fall.

As a result, students are calling on the government to reallocate the funds to extend the CESB by three eligibility periods and increase the monthly support provided to students to $2000, the amount provided to all other Canadians in need of support.

The petition is also calling on the government to expand the CESB to include international students and fall 2019 graduates, and for provincial governments to provide significant tuition relief to students.

“The CSSG violates provincial minimum wage laws, blurs the line between paid and volunteer labour, and has become the centre of a national ethics investigation,” Nicholas Ferreira, a spokesperson for Don’t Forget Students, said in the same release.

Cover photo courtesy of Canadian Federation of Students via Twitter

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