Everything you need to know about the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

What is the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

The Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) is a new national service initiative that provides between $1,000 and $5,000 to eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates that volunteer to help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

This is one of several initiatives that are part of the Government of Canada’s $9-billion package of comprehensive support for young Canadians announced by the Prime Minister on April 22, 2020.

The CSSG will create volunteer opportunities across Canada for up to 100,000 post-secondary students and recent graduates. All volunteer opportunities are facilitated in a way that respects social distancing and other health and safety precautions outlined by local public health orders, with the majority of opportunities being offered virtually.

The CSSG is bilingual, accessible and inclusive to help ensure student participation from coast to coast to coast, including students from Indigenous communities and other underrepresented groups.

Through the CSSG, post-secondary students and recent graduates will gain work experience and skills development, while giving back. The CSSG will match post-secondary students and recent graduates to causes that are important to them and will assist not-for-profit organizations in meeting the increased demand for their services since the onset of the pandemic.

Over 100 not-for-profit organizations from across Canada, representing a diverse set of causes, missions and populations served, will provide volunteer opportunities. The CSSG is open to any Canadian not-for-profit organization with eligible volunteer roles.

Student participants will take part in an onboarding session and ongoing training designed to set them up for a successful volunteer experience. Throughout their volunteer opportunities, student participants will have access to a robust virtual learning and development platform that will provide supportive resources and professional development opportunities designed to further skills development and learning outcomes through volunteering.

After successful completion of the CSSG, qualified student participants will be eligible to apply for a grant. The grant amount is based on the number of validated volunteer hours completed between June 25 and October 31, 2020. The CSSG rewards students between $1,000 and $5,000 for volunteering to help their communities during the COVID19 pandemic.

Why is the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) initiative necessary?

Post-secondary students and recent graduates are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19. Many post-secondary students were preparing to start summer jobs that are no longer available to them due to the pandemic. Many are now worried about how to save money for their education or just covering basic living expenses, while recent graduates are struggling to find work.

The CSSG, along with other federal student supports previously announced by the Government of Canada, will not only give post-secondary students and recent graduates the opportunity to receive a grant, but it will also provide the opportunities and experience many students were counting on for summer 2020.

Similarly, the not-for-profit sector has been impacted by COVID-19. Many not-for-profit organizations are experiencing a reduction in support from volunteers due to Canadians following stay-at-home guidance. This has left many not-for-profit organizations having to shift their program delivery to focus on technology-driven support, and they are seeking volunteers with the skills and interest to support in this way.

In May 2020, Imagine Canada published the results of a survey of over 1,400 Canadian charities that was conducted in late April 2020. The survey found that revenues, donations and volunteer hours were all significantly down since the onset of the pandemic. Specifically:

• 49% report difficulty engaging volunteers in current working conditions. • 33% say volunteers are less available. • Despite these declines 35% of the 1,400 organizations surveyed experienced an increase in demand for their services, placing an added burden on already strained resources.

Where do post-secondary students and recent graduates go to apply for a Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) volunteer opportunity?

All CSSG volunteer opportunities can be found on the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp). Once the volunteer opportunity of interest has been selected, the applicant will be redirected to fill out an application.

Who is eligible to participate in Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) volunteer opportunities?

Volunteer opportunities through the CSSG are open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Canadian Citizens, permanent residents, First Nations, Métis or Inuit, or those with Refugee status.
  • Students who are enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution in September 2020 or recently graduated no earlier than December 2019.
  • This includes part-time or full-time studies in pursuit of a degree, diploma or certificate at an accredited institution over a period of at least 12 weeks.
  • Accredited institutions include universities, colleges and Indigenous learning institutions accredited by the province or territory in which they are located.
  • Canadian students who study abroad but are currently residing in Canada and do their volunteer hours in Canada.
  • Students currently attending spring/summer classes are also eligible.
  • Post-secondary students and recent graduates, regardless of age, who meet the above criteria will be eligible to participate in CSSG volunteer opportunities.

The deadline to register for a volunteer placement is August 21, 2020.

Who is eligible to receive the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)? To be eligible to receive the CSSG, student participants must be:

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents , First Nations, Métis or Inuit, or those with Refugee status.
  • Enrolled and attending an accredited post-secondary institution during spring, summer and/or fall 2020 or recently graduated no earlier than December 2019.
  • This includes part-time or full-time studies in pursuit of a degree, diploma or certificate at an accredited institution over a period of at least twelve weeks.
  • Accredited institutions include universities, colleges and Indigenous learning institutions accredited by the province or territory in which they are located.
  • Canadian students who study abroad but are currently residing in Canada and do their volunteer hours in Canada.
  • All post-secondary students and recent graduates, up to the age of 30, who meet the eligibility criteria, including the required number of volunteer service hours, will receive the grant.

If a student participant is turning 30 in 2020, are they eligible to apply for the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

A student participant must be 30 years old or younger by December 31, 2020 to be eligible to apply for the CSSG.

If a student participant is turning 31 in 2020, are they eligible to apply for and receive a Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

No. A student participant must be 30 years old or younger by December 31, 2020 in order to receive the grant.

How do Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants apply for a grant?

Following the completion of their volunteer opportunities, CSSG student participants can apply for a Canada Student Service Grant online at www.iwanttohelp.org.

Student volunteers will be required to provide the following documentation during the grant application process:

  • a copy of a valid driver’s license, provincial identification, or, a valid passport; and,
  • a student card, or, letter of acceptance to an accredited institution (universities, colleges and Indigenous learning institutions) for the spring/summer/fall of 2020; or,
  • proof of graduation no earlier than December 2019.

The deadline for submitting grant applications is November 6, 2020.

Once the grant applications are processed, eligible applicants will be to receive a grant between $1,000 to $5000.

Grants will be issued in a lump sum amount based on the number of validated volunteer hours that a CSSG student participant has completed between June 25 and October 31, 2020.

What are the available grant amounts?

The available grant levels are:

  • 100 hours for $1,000.
  • 200 hours for $2,000.
  • 300 hours for $3,000.
  • 400 hours for $4,000.
  • 500 hours for $5,000.

Applicants must reach the minimum number of hours for each threshold (e.g. an applicant who submits 270 hours would be eligible to receive the $2,000 level grant).

When is the last day to accumulate hours for the grant?

The final day for student volunteers to accrue volunteer hours is October 31, 2020. This means that post-secondary students and recent graduates will only be able to collect and report hours until that date. The CSSG will be disbursed to eligible student volunteer applicants within 60 days of receipt of complete applications.

When and how will Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) payments be made? Is there a waiting period?

The CSSG is a one-time payment disbursed once students have accrued at least 100 volunteer hours and have completed their service. While students are encouraged to continue serving their communities, only hours completed between June 25 and October 31, 2020 will count towards the grant payment. The CSSG will be disbursed to eligible student volunteer applicants within 60 days of receipt of completed application.

Are Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants eligible to receive a grant if they are also receiving the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)?

Yes. CSSG student participants who are receiving the CESB ($1,250 monthly,except for students with disabilities and students with dependents who can receive $2,000), can also apply to receive a grant if they verify their completed volunteer hours.

Are Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants eligible to receive a grant if they are also receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ($2,000 monthly)?

No. CSSG student participants who are receiving CERB ($2,000 monthly), are not eligible to receive a grant.

While these individuals are not eligible to receive a grant, they can still participate in the volunteering aspects of the CSSG.

Are international students eligible to receive a grant?

International students studying in Canada are not eligible to receive the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). However, students studying abroad but currently residing in Canada, and performing their volunteer hours in Canada, are eligible.

While international students are not eligible to receive a grant, they can still participate in the volunteering aspects of the CSSG.

Are Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants eligible to receive a grant if they are also employed?

Yes. Students volunteers who are employed while participating in the CSSG, can also apply to receive a grant if they meet the eligibility criteria and verify their completed volunteer hours.

Are Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants who have received Employment Insurance (EI) eligible to receive a grant?

Yes. Students volunteers who have received, or are receiving EI while participating in the CSSG, can apply to receive a grant if they meet the eligibility criteria and verify their completed volunteer hours.

Can student participants completing a co-op placement/internship use these hours towards an application to receive a Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

No, hours spent in a co-op, internship or placement for credit in a post-secondary program are not eligible for the CSSG.

Can student participants who have just finished (or are part way through) a volunteer opportunity count their hours retroactively towards the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

No, these student participants will not be able to count their hours retroactively. Student participants can begin accumulating hours towards the grant after the official launch of the initiative on June 25, 2020.

Can a student participant receive the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) if they are also receiving disability benefits?

Receiving a grant may affect disability benefits. Every province and territory permits social assistance recipients to earn $200 without having their benefits “clawed back.” Provincial and Territorial policies surrounding “claw back” on income earned beyond this limit vary.

Can a student participant receive the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) if they are also receiving a Canada Student Loan or Grant funding?

Yes, students can receive both the Canada Student Service Grant and a Canada Student Loan or Grant.

Are post-secondary students in Canada Service Corps (CSC) placements eligible to apply for a grant through the CSSG based on the service hours completed through CSC?

The volunteer hours accumulated as part of a Canada Service Corps micro-grant project will count towards the receipt of the CSSG. In this case, post-secondary students need to reference the code CSC2020 on their grant application (available on www.iwanttohelp.org).

If a post-secondary student or recent graduate volunteers with an organization that is not listed on the I Want to Help Platform, are they still eligible to receive the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)? Yes, a student participant may use hours accrued in an opportunity not listed on the I Want to Help platform towards the CSSG; however, the volunteer opportunity must take place with a not-for-profit organization and be uploaded and registered on the I Want to Help platform. The Government recommends that the student ensure these steps are completed as soon as possible.

In addition, the volunteer opportunity must take place in Canada, be in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19, be a minimum of 2 hours a week for 4 weeks and adhere to local public health orders.

Full eligibility criteria for volunteer placements that are not listed on the I Want to Help platform can be viewed at www.iwanttohelp.org

Which not-for-profit organizations are participating in the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

National, regional and local not-for-profit organizations from across Canada representing a diverse set of causes, missions and populations served, have joined the CSSG to provide national volunteer opportunities for post-secondary students and recent graduates. The CSSG anticipates the number of not-for-profit participants will rise to over 100, creating volunteer opportunities for up to 100,000 post-secondary students and recent graduates.

The CSSG is open to all not-for-profit organizations that have volunteer opportunities that fit the criteria, namely, addressing COVID-19 response, and done in a manner adhering to the local public health orders in that area. Assistance is available to not-for-profit organizations to help with the application process.

To view the latest and most up-to-date volunteer opportunities and participating not-for-profit organizations, please visit the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp).

How do not-for-profit organizations register to participate in the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

Canadian not-for-profit organizations that are interested in participating in the CSSG are encouraged to submit their volunteer opportunity and register on the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp).

For all other inquiries, please email ([email protected] or [email protected]) or call 1 (833) 521-0117.

What types of volunteer opportunities are available through the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

The CSSG offers several inspiring and educational volunteer opportunities that post-secondary students and recent graduates can choose from that best match their skills and areas of interest with a community organization facing challenges during COVID-19. This allows student volunteers to gain relevant experience in a field of interest while creating positive societal impacts and supporting a not-for-profit organization in need.

Volunteer opportunities offered by not-for-profit organizations will be designed to respond directly to the needs of not-for-profit organization and challenges that Canadians are facing due to COVID-19.

What measures being taken to ensure that volunteer opportunities are safe?

All volunteer postings on the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp) are designed to respect social distancing and local public health orders.

For this reason, many of the volunteer opportunities are virtual so that students can join and engage with their respective not-for-profit organization online. There will also be options for those without reliable access to internet or appropriate technology.

Student participants will receive formal training on COVID-19 public health information and best practices prior to joining their volunteer opportunity.

We recommend all CSSG applicants review the advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada on how to best protect themselves from COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/guidance-documents.html.

These guidelines and recommendations will also be reinforced to post-secondary students and recent graduates during their onboarding training.

What benefits will post-secondary students and recent graduates gain from participating in the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)? The CSSG is designed so that participating students and recent graduates can pursue their passion by matching their interests and skills with a range of enriching volunteer opportunities. This allows students to obtain relevant experience in a field of interest while creating positive societal impact and supporting a not-for-profit organization in need. Student participants will gain:

  • Workplace readiness with life skills gained through working with a team.
  • Civic engagement and giving back to the community.
  • Vital employment skills from applied work training and experience.
  • Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 are available to eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates who complete enough service hours by volunteering to help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Through the CSSG, Canadian post-secondary students and recent graduates can obtain a grant and take advantage of opportunities and experiences they may have otherwise missed out on this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where can Canadians find the most up-to-date information about Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)?

For the latest and most up-to-date information on CSSG, visit the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp) or follow @iwanttohelp_org and @jeveuxaider_org on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For all other additional questions, please email [email protected] or [email protected] or call CSSG support at 1 (833) 521-0117. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm EST.