Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer

Announced in late June by the federal Government, the Canada Student Service Grant will support students and recent graduates who are volunteering in spite of COVID-19. This grant program falls under the $9 billion COVID-19 aid efforts for students. 

According to CTV News, every 100 hours spent working on COVID-19 efforts will equate to $1,000. This total maxes at $5,000. To be eligible, volunteers must work a minimum of two hours per week for four weeks, and these hours must occur between June 25 and October 31, 2020. 

Volunteer activities with eligible organizations range, including helping seniors learn about technology, mask making, tutoring, and researching. 

There is an age limit of 30 years for eligible students and recent graduates. As well, applicants must either be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or have a refugee status. Current student volunteers must have enrolled at a post-secondary institution during the spring, summer, or fall semesters of 2020. Recent graduates are applicable if their graduation occurred no earlier than December 2019. Canadians who are in post-secondary school abroad but are currently in Canada also qualify.

Prime Minister Trudeau faced criticism from Conservative Party representatives for the delay in explaining the program. MPs Dan Albas and Raquel Dancho said, “We are already two months into summer — every day the Liberals delay support or refuse to fix their programs Canadians fall through the cracks. Conservatives will continue to advocate relentlessly for all Canadians left behind by Trudeau and his Liberal government.”

Registration for the program closes August 21. November 6 is the deadline for completed applications. More information can be found at a newly developed “I want to help” website.

“There are plenty of service opportunities available for students looking to get involved in their community to support Canada’s response to COVID-19. By volunteering with a local organization this summer, they can gain valuable experience and obtain the Canada Student Service Grant in recognition for their service,” the website’s homepage reads.

When visiting the site, prospective volunteers may search their city for opportunities and register, as well. Not-for-profit organizations submit opportunities to the site, and any openings for any city come up with a search.

The service grant was initially to be administrated by WE Charity, which would have also been “responsible for screening, training and matching applicants with opportunities and distributing the grants.” 

Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger recently announced that WE Charity could have received as much as $43 million for it’s commitments, which is more than double the amount of $19.5 million that the federal government initially said it would receive. Trudeau’s family has come under fire for having ties with the WE Charity organization. Multiple family members (wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, mother Margaret Trudeau, and brother Alexndre Trudeau) and Trudeau himself have been paid to speak at WE Charity events in the past. 

The contract between the federal Government and WE Charity has been cancelled.