Ottawa, ON - Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, presented Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience in the House of Commons. The Budget includes several critical items for post-secondary students, including investments in student financial aid, work integrated learning and Indigenous student supports. The Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) saw these financial supports for students as welcomed news.
“The pandemic has imposed many barriers to Canadian students,” said Tim Gulliver, Advocacy Commissioner and President-Elect, University of Ottawa Students’ Union and UCRU Board Member. “It is encouraging to see that the Government of Canada is investing in students by removing barriers to accessing post-secondary education for the upcoming year."
The Budget 2021 included the following investments in students:
Doubling the Canada Student Grants for Two Additional Years, with additional funding provided for provinces who do not participate in the program;
$371.8 million in new funding for Canada Summer Jobs in 2022-23 to support approximately 75,000 new job placements in the summer of 2022;
Extending the waiver of interest accrual on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until March 31, 2023 (savings for approximately 1.5 million Canadians repaying student loans);
$150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies;
$239.8 million invested in the Student Work Placement Program in 2021-22 to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students.
“We applaud the Government of Canada for making post-secondary students a priority in the 2021 budget, particularly with the doubling of Canada Student Grants for two additional years, and the extension of the waiver of interest accrual on Canada Student Loans,” said Mackenzy Metcalfe, Vice-President External Affairs at the University Students’ Council, and Chair of UCRU. “Students are an integral part of Canada’s post-COVID-19 rebuild and need financial support to help Canada build back better.”
In November, UCRU held a virtual lobby week with its ten partner student unions across Canada, to discuss student concerns with Members of Parliament. During this virtual lobby week, UCRU discussed student financial aid, international students’ work opportunities, Indigenous student financial aid, and undergraduate research.
UCRU will continue to advocate for increased student financial support, Indigenous student financial supports, work-integrated learning opportunities, and research investments for post-secondary students.
Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities is a pragmatic, evidence-driven advocacy alliance of ten student associations dedicated to high-quality, affordable and accessible education and represents over 250,000 undergraduate university students across Canada.