‘Face Roadblocks in Getting Govt Aid in Canada as Int’l Students’

Some school demands a number of documents which are hard to retrieve right now.

My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani

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The coronavirus lockdown in Canada will last “many more weeks,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced recently. This announcement entails a fresh set of problems for international students like us in Canada.

I, Sanya Kapoor and Priya Kalra, are two such students who are studying at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia and York University in Toronto respectively. Here’s how life has been during the lockdown.

Asymptomatic Patients Told to Self Quarantine

One of my friends, who came in contact with a COVID-19 positive person was denied a test by the hospital.

She went to the hospital where she was denied a test and the reason given was that they do not have enough kits. 

My friend was told to give the hospital a call incase symptoms show up during the course of 14 days.

Financial Aid Uncertain

Many international students can’t avail benefits of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit Program which gives the benefit of 2,000 Canadian dollars per month as only the people who earned 5,000 Canadian dollars in 2019 or over past 12 months can apply to be beneficiaries.

For example, I came to Canada in September 2019 and started working a month later at a fast-food chain. As an international student I am only allowed 20 hours a week. Sometimes, you only get 13 or 16 hours. If you calculate, we cannot have such an income. So, there are a lot of students who cannot apply for CERB.

Some schools are providing financial aid to students without verification. However, my school demands a number of documents which are hard to retrieve right now.

Worried about her bills, Sanya, on the other hand has applied for EI (Employment Insurance) sickness leave and is awaiting the aid.

“They said they will give a maximum of 573 dollars to international students depending on their weekly wages.”
Sanya Kapoor

There are several roadblocks in availing the said benefits and while the handling of this pandemic is laudable, the situation is tough for international students away from home.

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