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September 8th, 2020

Liberals shouldn’t make students pay the price for Trudeau’s WE scandal

OTTAWA – With already limited job prospects compounded by retail and service industry shutdowns and increased costs for university and college, young Canadians have been some of the hardest hit financially by the pandemic. Things were made worse when the Liberals failed to come through with the nearly billion dollars in support they promised through the Canadian Student Service Grant (CSSG). Today, NDP Critic for Post Secondary Education, Lindsay Mathyssen, called on the government to make sure those funds get to the students to whom they were promised.

“Help was promised with the announcement of CSSG; however, it is now clear that this was not a program to help students but a bailout package for Justin Trudeau’s friends at WE Charity,” said Mathyssen. “Many of the internships and apprenticeships that students relied on in the summer were cancelled. Students should not suffer the consequences of the Liberals' 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 the holes in the CESB program that New Democrats have been calling on for months. For example, extending the program to students who graduated in the fall of 2019 but have been unable to find work due to the economic downturn.

“The $912 million CSSG was a flawed program from the start,” said Mathyssen. “The CSSG violates provincial minimum wage laws and blurs the line between paid and volunteer labour. To ensure students get help this fall semester, the government must cancel the scandal-plagued CSSG program and allocate the funds into direct aid for students.”