Government of Canada COVID-19 measures delivering support for young people this fall

News release

September 15, 2020            Halifax, Nova Scotia           Employment and Social Development Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Canada’s youth, with many seeing their summer jobs, internships and graduation plans disappear. To help our country’s students and young people during this unprecedented time, the Government of Canada introduced a comprehensive emergency support package earlier this year. This includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which has provided income support to over 700,000 post-secondary students and recent graduates across the country since its launch.

With the school year just getting started, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Fillmore,
on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, visited the Young Women’s Christian Association of Halifax (YWCA Halifax) and announced an investment of $1 million for YWCA Halifax’s Launch Atlantic project under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS).

This YESS project will provide work, career, and personal development opportunities to 116 young women and female-identified or non-binary youth who are unemployed or underemployed and under-represented in the workforce. The project will also assist youth in the LGBTQ community, newcomers, those living in remote areas, and youth in low-income households. The hands-on skills they will gain are especially important in helping them gain economic independence amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore also highlighted the Government of Canada’s fall support measures to help students through the upcoming school year. These include easing eligibility requirements for Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grants to allow more post-secondary students to qualify and be eligible for greater amounts. Specifically, Canada Student Grants have been doubled for full-time students to up to $6,000 for this school year, and the cap on Canada Student Loans has been increased to $350 per week of study. These fall measures represent an investment of approximately $1.9 billion and are expected to expand the reach of the Canada Student Loans Program and benefit approximately 765,000 students.

These initiatives follow the Government of Canada’s recently introduced COVID-19 measures on supports for young Canadians and students affected by the pandemic, including:

  • Increased funding of up to $187.7 million to the YESS program to create 9,500 more work opportunities for young Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to employment. YESS projects managed by ESDC received up to $40 million for national projects that are providing flexible supports and targeted job opportunities for up to 4,700 youth aged 15-30, in the areas of social support services, transport, information technology, research and administration, and other placements that support community needs.
  • Additional funding of $61.7 million to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program to help expand the current work placement target from 70,000 to 80,000, creating 10,000 more placements for young people aged 15 to 30. To date, over 84,500 jobs have been approved, with thousands of opportunities currently available at
  • Increased funding of $266.1 million to the Student Work Placement (SWP) Program to support up to 40,000 work placements for post-secondary students in vital sectors such as healthcare.
  • A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans (CSLP), effective until September 30, 2020, that is providing relief to over 1 million CSLP borrowers currently in repayment.

Taken together, these measures are not only helping to ensure students get the financial support they need now, but that they continue to have access to the tools and opportunities that will help them build successful careers in the future as we begin our economic recovery. 


"The economic challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic have had a serious impact on underrepresented youth in Halifax who are eager to find good work and contribute to our community. We're working with community organizations like YWCA Halifax to help these individuals gain the skills they need to build a career that will bring them support and stability through this difficult time and into the future.”
– Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“The uncertainty many young Canadians have felt over the past few months can be overwhelming. But in Canada, we look out for each other. We value education and hard work. The set of comprehensive measures we put in place over the last few months are helping students get through these difficult times, so they can build their career and the future they’ve been working for. We are steadfast in our commitment to build on the measures we have put in place to help students during the pandemic and will continue supporting them in the upcoming school year." 
– The Hounourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“Over the last few months, young people from coast to coast to coast have experienced unique challenges brought on by the pandemic. During these unprecedented times, they continue to inspire us through their leadership in their communities and across Canada. Our government will continue to do everything we can to support young people, especially as many of them return to their studies. The series of measures highlighted today will provide students and youth with the financial supports they need right now and for their futures.” 
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

“Women have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19.  In March 2020, 70% of jobs lost were held by women.   With the support of the Government of Canada, YWCA Halifax is honoured to partner with YWCA Moncton and YWCA St. John's to support the economic security of women in Atlantic Canada.  We have expanded our longstanding ESDC-funded Launch program and are ready to continue to support women for as long as it takes.” 
– Miia Suokonautio, Executive Director, Young Women's Christian Association of Halifax

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada invested up to $39.64 million for more than 47 Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) projects across the Atlantic region to ensure that young people and students have access to supports and job experiences they need right now, and for their future careers.

  • With the recent COVID-19 investments of $187.7 million to the YESS program, the Government of Canada will be supporting an additional 9,500 YESS work opportunities for youth across Canada.

  • The YESS is a horizontal Government of Canada initiative delivered in collaboration with 11 federal departments and agencies.

  • In addition to the investment of $61.7 million made to the Canada Summer Jobs program, temporary flexibilities were announced to increase the wage subsidy, expand eligibility, create more job placements and offer to employers in 2020-21 opportunities created through to February 2021.

  • The Student Work Placement Program’s funding was increased by $266.1 million, other changes to the program include an increase of the wage subsidy to cover up to 75% of the cost of wages across all  placements;

  • Despite the final eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit being August 2 to 29 students are able to apply retroactively until September 30.

  • Over $2.8 billion was invested in the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which has provided to over 700,000 post-secondary students and recent graduates with $1,250 per month in financial relief this summer ($2,000 for students with disabilities and dependents).

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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