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Groups urge federal government to extend the CERB to students and contract staff

(Ottawa — April 7, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) are calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to post-secondary students and contract academic staff.

“Students and contract academic staff are seeing their job offers vanish and will have limited or no income over the coming months because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “We’re urging the government to ensure that students and our most vulnerable workers are not left behind.”

“Many students, even if they do work during the school year, are not eligible for the CERB and their prospects for the summer are grim. Students must be included in this much-needed emergency benefit. It is essential that the federal government offers support to those who are falling through the cracks," says Canadian Federation of Students Chairperson, Sofia Descalzi.

Many students and contract academic staff rely on income from spring and summer jobs to help make ends meet, but there are significantly fewer summer employment opportunities today than in a normal year. Even if a student made over $5,000 in their previous summer job, they are not eligible for the CERB if they did not lose a job because of the pandemic. 

With colleges and universities cancelling spring and summer courses, some contract academic staff may see their incomes reduced to below the $2,000 per month provided through the CERB.

For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour
Director of Communication, Canadian Association of University Teachers, 613-293-1810 or