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Canada Emergency Student Benefit

Last updated October 14, 2020. We will update blog posts when more information is released.


The federal government announced a new benefit for students who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will provide support to students and new graduates who can’t find work due to COVID-19.

Eligible applicants will receive $1,250 per month from May to August or $2,000 per month if they have a disability or are taking care of someone else.

Who is eligible?

Post-secondary students and new graduates can apply, along with Canadians studying abroad and high school students set to enter post-secondary in the fall. They must not apply, receive or qualify for the CERB or EI benefits for the same eligibility period.

To qualify, students must:

  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (at least 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • Have completed or ended their post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later
  • Have completed or expect to complete high school or a high school equivalency in 2020, and have applied for a post-secondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021

And one of the following must also apply to students:

  • They are unable to work due to COVID-19
  • They are looking for, but cannot find work due to COVID-19
  • They are currently working, but income from employment and self-employment is $1,000 or less (before taxes) during the 4-week period they are applying for

The benefit will be available from May to August 2020.

Successful applicants will receive a payment for the specific eligibility period they applied for. Each eligibility period is a 4-week period with a specific start and end date.

The government says students should keep records of their daily job search activities to verify they have been looking for work during the eligibility period(s) they applied for. They recommend registering with the Government of Canada Job Bank.

What are the eligibility periods?

Applicants can only apply for one eligibility period at a time. If their situation continues, they must re-apply for another 4-week eligibility period.

Eligibility period                              

Amount (depending on eligibility)

May 10 to June 6, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

June 7 to July 4, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

July 5 to August 1, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

August 2 to August 29, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000


How do students apply?

The benefit will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. Students can apply through CRA My Account.

If they have not filed taxes before, they must call 1-800-959-8281 to register their Social Insurance Number (SIN) with the CRA.

They can also apply by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 and following the instructions. They must have their SIN and eligibility periods ready.

The government recommends students set up direct deposit through CRA My Account or through their financial institution to receive the payments sooner. They should receive payment within 3 business days.

All applications for the benefit must be submitted before September 30, 2020.

Contact FBC

If you’d like to learn more about this or other COVID-19 programs for Canadian businesses, please call us at 1-800-265-1002 or email Unlimited consultation related to tax matters is a key benefit of FBC Membership. You can also book an appointment.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for the latest information, advice and insights for small business owners.