Long-awaited details of federal student service grant to be unveiled today

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OTTAWA — The federal government is to launch a program today aimed at encouraging students to volunteer in the fight against COVID-19 — more than two months after first announcing it and just in time for those who haven’t been able to find a summer job.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to announce a substantial increase in funding for a host of other existing programs, like Canada Summer Jobs, aimed at creating thousands of new opportunities for youth.

Back in April, Trudeau announced creation of the Canada Student Service Grant, a way of giving students who can’t find a summer job a chance to earn some money while volunteering in “national service” activities related to fighting the pandemic.

Eligible students are to receive grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to support the costs of post-secondary education in the fall.

The amount of each grant is dependent on the time devoted to volunteer work.

The grant program was part of a multi-pronged, $9-billion investment by the federal government to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic on young people.

“Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts or just give back,” Trudeau said at the time. “If you’re volunteering instead of working, we’re going to make sure that you have support too.”

Ever since, students and organizations that rely on volunteers have been anxiously awaiting details, worried that the window for their summer activities was rapidly narrowing.

Today’s launch of the “I want to help” online platform will finally provide more information about who’s eligible for the grants, the number of hours needed to qualify for various levels of grant money, how to apply and how applications will be assessed.

It will also include a list of not-for-profit organizations for which volunteer work will be compensated.

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