A guick guide to CERB for international students in Canada

International students in Canada are among the many groups covered in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a government scheme to support citizens and taxpayers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are one of the 642,000 international students in Canada, this could provide relief in a crucial time. Canadians lost a record number of one million jobs in March alone, which includes many part-time and campus jobs that were supporting international students.

For all of you wondering how to go about it, here’s a quick guide to CERB for international students in Canada.

What is CERB?
The CERB will provide temporary income support for those whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19. Under this scheme, Canadian taxpayers are entitled to CA$500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Bear in mind that you will have to reapply for CERB every four weeks. At every stage, you will have to prove that you still qualify for the payout with supporting documents.
At the same time, several students have raised concerns about being left out of this hardship scheme on technicalities.

Those who lost new summer jobs lined up to help pay tuition would now be unable to earn that income. If they hadn’t worked before, they would not qualify for the CERB either.

The government website explicitly states, “If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit. For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit.”

CERB for international students — are you eligible?
International students in Canada may apply to receive CA$2,000 taxable income monthly if they:

  • are above 15 years old and residing in Canada
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). International students in Canada without SIN may still be eligible if they meet all other requirements.
  • have stopped working due to COVID-19 or have not voluntarily quit their job
  • earned an income of at least CA$5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application. International students in Canada who worked part-time jobs for the past five months should have earned enough to meet this requirement.
  • are currently or expecting to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

Applications are open till October 3, 2020. You can apply online, through a phone call or via your bank. Be prepared to wait anywhere between three to 10 days for your payout.