Toronto, Feb 6, 2021 – After the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government introduced the Canadian Emergency Relief Fund (CERB), which provides $2,000 per month to eligible workers. As of last week, more than 11 million Canadians have applied for this emergency relief.
With the strengthening of public health restrictions in December, Canada announced its first monthly job drop since April 2020, and economists warned that as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to increase, job losses may continue.
Financial aid and economic support package for Toronto college students
Amid these huge unemployment raises at the horizons, the Canadian government edicts the Canadian Emergency Relief Fund (CERB) which provides financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians directly affected by COVID-19. If the applicant meets the conditions, they can get USD 2,000 (equivalent to USD 500 per week) within 4 weeks.
Not all unemployed Canadians are eligible for the new Canadian emergency response benefits, and Toronto college students seem to be disproportionately caught in the gap of the new member of the Canadian Social Safety Net.
The Canadian government stated on its website that the CERB is eligible for people who are at least 15 years old, stopped working due to COVID-19-related reasons, and live in Canada, who received at least 5,000 plus in the 12 months before or in 2019. The income received is up to the date of application, and it will not be applicable for those who voluntarily resign.
Many students currently undergoing higher education courses are not eligible for CERB qualification, and because of the upcoming summer and little or no summer job prospects, something must be done about this situation. Some schools have already moved toward offering financial assistance to students who are otherwise at risk of dropping out.
As of January 2021, more adjustments have been made towards granting the funds to students who did not qualify for CERB earlier. In this updated eligibility criteria, the standards are lowered significantly so more students, especially Toronto college students, can receive these weekly benefits from the CERB package. Those CERB eligibility criteria are as follows.
- Students participating in higher education courses.
- Students who graduate or leave a college degree no later than December 2019.
- Students who have completed or are about to complete high school in 2020, and have applied for post-secondary education courses that started before February 1, 2021.
For those who seek a job but cannot find a job, they must continue to actively seek jobs that meet CESB qualifications. Individuals who qualify for CESB within a given period but still cannot find a job due to COVID-19 or whose income does not exceed $1,000 can reapply for each CESB qualification period for which they are eligible. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may ask them to provide information later to verify that they have been looking for work during the eligibility period.
Job loss still raising and Toronto college students still cannot find jobs
Statistics Canada said on Friday that the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.6% from 8.5% in November. If this figure is included in the calculation of Canadians who wanted to work but did not seek a job last month, the unemployment rate in December would be 10.9%, the same as in November.
At the peak of last spring, the COVID-19 economic shutdown directly affected 5.5 million Canadian workers, including 3 million unemployed and 2.5 million employed, but experienced COVID-related work absences.
The number of people affected was 1.1 million in December, including a 636,000 job loss since February, and Canadians who were employed for COVID reasons but worked less than half of their normal working hours. Among the industries most directly affected by new and ongoing public health measures, employment in December fell.
As public health officials blamed the increase in infections for holiday gatherings, some provinces have further expanded COVID-19 restrictions. As restrictions on slowing the spread of the pandemic began to ease, the decline in unemployment in December ended the monthly job growth streak that began in May.
Canada has already begun to vaccinate, but compared with other countries that deploy faster, governments have criticised the speed of its deployment.