Government of Canada announces improved financial supports for students with disabilities

News release

August 2, 2022            Ottawa, Ontario                    Employment and Social Development Canada

A post-secondary education, such as a trade school, college, polytechnic or university, is essential to the future career and long-term success to which students, including students with disabilities, aspire. That is why the Government of Canada continues to improve supports under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (CSFA Program) for students with disabilities.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced new measures under the CSFA Program. Post-secondary financial supports became more accessible as of August 1, 2022, with the Government extending disability supports under the CSFA Program to include those with a persistent or prolonged disability. Additionally, the Government has increased flexibility for documentation that can be accepted when applying for CSFA Program disability supports.

These changes align with the Government of Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations to help build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities that leave no one behind. In particular, the changes support Canada’s commitment to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education.


“An essential step to creating a more disability-inclusive Canada is re-evaluating government supports and services to ensure they are considering the needs of persons with disabilities. That’s why we are expanding student financial supports, so more students with disabilities can access the education they deserve, and the opportunities that come with it.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“We applaud this significant announcement by the Government of Canada and Minister Qualtrough to provide financial assistance to thousands more students each year who have persistent and prolonged disabilities. This will go a long way toward making college and university education more affordable and accessible for students who often have extra costs and challenges because of their disabilities. Access to grants for post-secondary study is particularly important to the students we represent as Canada’s organization of disabled students and graduates with disabilities. We really appreciate that our voices were listened to when the Government consulted to modify and improve the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. Talented, passionate and credentialed disabled persons deserve full inclusion and participation in higher education and the employment market.”

– Coordinator of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, Frank Smith

“Expanding the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program to include students with persistent or prolonged disabilities is an important step in improving equitable access to post-secondary education across Canada. Recognizing the lived experiences of students with disabilities is key to ensuring that post-secondary education is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.”

– Chair of the Board for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and Vice President External of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, Christian Fotang

Quick facts

  • The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability found that one in five Canadians aged 15 and over—or approximately 6.2 million people—report as having a disability.

  • An estimated 40,000 recipients whose disabilities are persistent or prolonged will benefit each year from this expanded disability support from the CSFA Program.

  • Eligible students with a disability, now including persistent or prolonged disabilities, could have access to up to $24,000 in grants, in-study supports, and specialized repayment assistance on their loans.

  • Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not participate in the CSFA Program. They receive alternative payments from the Government of Canada to administer their own student financial assistance measures.

  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a 15-year global framework adopted by Canada and all other 192 United Nations Member States in 2015.

  • Moving Forward Together: Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy, released in February 2021, promotes a whole-of-society approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It builds on the 30 actions and 5 core principles outlined in Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy, with feedback from in-person and online consultations and outreach across Canada.

Associated links


Tara Beauport
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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