Canada's NDP


September 10th, 2020

Federal government shouldn’t make students pay the price for WE scandal

EDMONTON – Already facing limited job prospects in Alberta’s shrinking economy and increased costs for university and college due to provincial cuts, young Albertans have been some of the hardest hit financially by the pandemic. Things were made worse when the federal government failed to come through with the nearly billion dollars in support they promised through the Canadian Student Service Grant (CSSG) program. Today, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona Heather McPherson called on the government to make sure those funds get to the students who need them as they were promised.

“Help was promised for students when the Prime Minister announced the CSSG program but that help has disappeared with Trudeau's WE Charity scandal. Students were counting on that support and many went ahead and volunteered believing that they would receive it,” said McPherson. “Many of the internships and apprenticeships that students rely on in the summer were cancelled. Students should not suffer the consequences of the government’s poor decisions.”

New Democrats are calling on the government to re-allocate these funds to the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) program and extend the program to December 2020 to account for disruptions to student summer employment. The government also needs to fix problems with the CESB program, something New Democrats have been calling on for months. For example, extending the program to students who graduated in the fall but 2019 have been unable to find work due to the economic downturn.

“Students in Alberta need help to begin the fall semester and the $912-million CSSG program failed to deliver it,” said McPherson. “The CSSG violates provincial minimum wage laws and blurs the line between paid and volunteer labour. The government must cancel the scandal-plagued CSSG program and allocate the funds into direct aid for students.”