OTTAWA, ON, July 21, 2020 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Students and Don't Forget Students 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," said Sofia Descalzi, National Chairperson of the CFS. "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."
On June 25, the federal government announced WE Charity would administer the $912 million student volunteer program, but has since been mired in controversy leading them to pull out of the agreement one week later. It is still unclear how the federal government plans to relaunch the program, despite the fact that we are heading into the last month of the summer, leaving little time for students to accumulate hours to receive the grant.
With youth unemployment reaching 29.4% in May, many students were counting on the federal program to help pay for school in the fall. Students are now calling for 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 also calls for CESB to be expanded to include international students and fall 2019 graduates, and for provincial governments to provide significant tuition relief to students.
The CSSG devoted nearly a billion dollars to a program which would have underpaid students in their time of need and flaunted labor standards. "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," said Nicholas Ferreira, a spokesperson for Don't Forget Students. The CFS and Don't Forget Students continue to urge the government to guarantee income security for all students, including international students and recent graduates, by increasing funding and expanding eligibility requirements for the CESB.
The Canadian Federation of Students unites over 500,000 college and university students and more than 60 students' unions throughout the country including all students at Ryerson University.
Don't Forget Students is a grassroots coalition of students, recent graduates, and supporters that have mobilized to ensure that income support is available to all students.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
For further information: Geneviève Charest, Communications Coordinator, 613-240-2631; Nicholas Ferreira, Spokesperson, 905-716-7802