Trudeau’s daily coronavirus briefing: A new emergency fund for students [Full Transcript]

The $9 billion fund, announced by the PM on April 22, will provide eligible students with $1,250 per month from May to August. ‘In Canada, we look out for each other.’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa. Here are his remarks for April 22, 2020.

Before I get started I want to talk about the latest updates coming out of Nova Scotia. The RCMP has now confirmed that at least 22 people were killed in this weekend’s terrible attacks. And we’re learning more about those who were taken from us. We’re seeing just how much each of them was loved. Again, I want to extend my deepest condolences to all friends and families of the victims. Know that Canada is standing with you.

[speaking in French] We now know that at least 22 people lost their lives in the tragedy that occurred in Nova Scotia. We are starting to learn more about the victims and we are seeing just how loved they all were. Once again I want to extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The entire country stands with you. [French translation ends]

Right now, in incredibly difficult times, Canadians are reaching out to support each other. People are asking what they can do to help. I heard a great story of a young person here in Ottawa named Felix, who is one of those people putting up his hand. A recent engineering grad from Carleton, he’d been working on communications satellites.  A few weeks ag, he talked to a local manufacturer about what they could do in the fight against COVID-19. Now they’ve started designing and creating reusable face shields for frontline workers. And Felix isn’t the only one stepping up. From coast to coast to coast, young people are pitching in and doing their part.

So we’re going to do the same for them. Many students are eligible for new programs we’ve brought in over the last few weeks. Many students will get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. But others won’t. And that leaves some young people worried about what they’re going to do. COVID-19 has meant that there aren’t just many jobs out there for students, and without a job, it can be hard to pay for tuition or the day to day basics. You might normally have turned to your parents for help. But right now, mom and dad are stretched too. And even if monthly bills aren’t the concern, you may have been counting on the summer job for next year’s tuition or to get the right experience for your career.

READ MORE: The doomed 30-year battle to stop a pandemic

As young people, what you’re going through matters. We want to make sure that you’ll be OK. So today I’m announcing our plan to support students right across the country. We’re launching the Canada Emergency Student Benefit to provide immediate help. At the same time, we will create new student jobs and double student grants, among other things. All of these measures will add up to approximately $9 billion for students.

For today, for the summer, for next year, we’re gonna be there for you. So let me start with the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Right now, you might be worried about how to make ends meet. You probably can’t work your normal job. And that might be a big problem for rent or for groceries. So we’re bringing in the Canada Emergency Student Benefit to help. With this benefit you’ll get $1,250 a month from May to August. And if you take care of someone else or have a disability, that amount will go up to $1,750 each month. This benefit is designed for you.

If you’re a post-secondary student right now, if you’re going to college in September or if you graduated in December 2019, it’s there for you even if you have a job but you’re only making up to a $1,000 a month. The period covered by the benefit will start on May 1st and your payments will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency. We’ll be working with opposition parties to move forward on legislation to put this new benefit in place.

[speaking in French] Today we are introducing a $9 billion program for students. We are introducing the Canada Emergency Student Benefit to help people who are going through tough times because of COVID-19. From May to August, you will receive $1,250 a month. And if you are caring for another person or you are living with a disabilities, you could receive $1,750 per month. This benefit was designed to help you.

If you are in school now or will be in school in September, or if you graduated after December 2019, you are eligible. And if you have a job but you’re earning $1,000 or less per month, you are also eligible. The payments will be retroactive to May 1st and will be paid through the Canada Revenue Agency. We will be working with the opposition parties to get the bill passed that will allow us to introduce this new benefit. [French translation ends]

For a lot of students the month of May normally marks the start of a summer job, but right now it might be really tough to find something. You may have been looking for weeks without any success. So we’re going to help. Our government is creating 76,000 jobs for young people, in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. These placements will be in sectors that need an extra hand right now or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic.

We’re also going to be providing specific support for Indigenous students. And for student researchers and graduate students, we’re going to invest over $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships and grants to make sure you can keep working. Depending on your funding, it’ll be extended by either three or four months.

Of course, the paying job isn’t the only valuable way to spend your summers. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts or just give back. If you’re volunteering instead of working, we’re going to make sure that you have support too. Students helping in the fight against against COVID-19 this summer will soon be eligible for $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours through the new Canada Student Service grant. Your energy and your skills can do a lot of good right now.

[speaking in French] If you are a student, it’s tough finding a summer job now because of COVID-19. Our government, therefore, will be creating 76,000 additional jobs for young people in those sectors that need help right now or are contributing directly to our response to the pandemic. These jobs are in addition to the ones under the current Canada Summer Jobs program. We will also be providing targeted help to Indigenous students. And with respect to research, we will be investing more than $291 million to extend grants and fellowships by three or four months and therefore allow them to continue their work. At the same time, we are currently introducing the Canadian Student Service grant. If you want to volunteer to help fight COVID-19 this summer, you will be able to receive from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours. We need your energy and your skills. [French translation ends]

Things may be hard for the next little while, but we’re going to support you through it. We’re doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020-21 school year. For students in Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, we will be providing funding to the provincial and territorial governments so that they can increase their financial aid programs. At the same time, we’ll provide over $75 million to increase support specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nations students.

[speaking in French] Today I’m also announcing that we will double the amount of money being prepared being provided for 2020-21 and for students in Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, we will be granting that funding to provincial and territorial governments so they can extend their own financial assistance programs. At the same time, will it be investing more than $75 million to support Inuit, First Nations and Metis students. [French translation ends]

To all the students watching today let me say this: As you’re building your future, thinking about how to contribute, about starting a family or a career, all of a sudden you’re faced with a massive crisis. This uncertainty that you feel can be overwhelming. But in Canada, we look out for each other. We value education, service, hard work. These measures will help you get through this so that you can build that career and the future that you’ve been looking forward to, that we’ve been looking forward to for you.

On the other side of this, when the economy comes roaring back, you will define our path forward, a path towards a better, more equal society. That’s what we’re doing together.

Today on Earth Day, we are reminded that the way forward includes a healthy environment and a strong, sustainable economy. Although our immediate focus is on the fight against COVID-19, we will always do our part to build a brighter future for tomorrow.

[speaking in French] Today, Earth Day, reminds us that we must reconcile a sustainable economy and a healthy environment. Even though right now we are concerned about fighting COVID-19, we will always do what needs to be done to build a better future for our generation and future generations.

I know that in the last six weeks our lives have changed in one way or another, that right now the future may seem even more uncertain. But whoever you may be, whether you’re a student,  an essential worker or a business owner, we are there for you. We need for you to do your part as well. So please continue to stay home, wash your hands and keep a two meter distance from others. Thank you very much.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.