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

What is the selection process for matching student volunteers with not-for-profits volunteer opportunities?

Students will register and indicate their preferences for volunteering based on the list of volunteer opportunities available on the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp).

For the first cohort of 40,000 student participants, Volunteer Placement Managers will oversee the process of matching student volunteers based on areas of interest, skills and availability or students can self-select a volunteer opportunity based on the postings listed the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp). The second cohort of student participants will self-select the volunteer opportunity of interest on the I Want to Help platform and apply directly for the available role.

Will Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student volunteers receive training before their volunteer opportunity starts? Student volunteers will take part in an onboarding and training program designed to set them up for a successful volunteer opportunity. The onboarding program will be offered online and consists of a series of training modules, which can be completed over the course of a week. Health and safety training, with a specific focus on COVID-19 prevention practices, is included in onboarding.

Upon completion of the onboarding program, student volunteers will gain access to a self-serve library of trainings to support their volunteer experience and prepare them for the workforce. This virtual library will have upwards of 65 hours of learning and skills development trainings for student participants to engage in.

Training and development opportunities will be organized into four streams: Communication, Professionalism & Productivity, Leadership and Technology & Tools.

Most of the content is self-serve or on-demand, complemented with some available 1-on-1 coaching/mentorship sessions with assigned Volunteer Placement Managers.

Student volunteers can apply up to 20 accrued training hours toward their grant applications.

Can post-secondary students and recent graduates participate in more than one volunteer opportunity this summer?

Yes. Student volunteers can participate in more than one volunteer opportunity throughout the summer to accumulate hours towards the CSSG. However, students must complete the required volunteer hours for one volunteer opportunity before they will be eligible to take on another opportunity.

What tools are required in order to participate in a volunteer opportunity?

Many of the volunteer opportunities are virtual so student participants can join and engage with their respective organization online. Access to a phone, computer, laptop, tablet or other device is recommended.

There will also be options for student participants without reliable access to internet or appropriate technology. Telephone and mail support will be available and Volunteer Placement Managers will work flexibly with this subsection of student participants to help them create their own initiative that is not reliant on regular internet access or other technology.

Post-secondary students and recent graduates are encouraged to contact the CSSG support centre to discuss alternative options for accessing volunteer opportunities by email ([email protected] or [email protected]) or by phone at 1 (833) 521-0117. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm EST.

Where needed the Volunteer Placement Managers will work with student volunteers to provide them with micro-grants to help student participants close the digital gap.

Are there volunteer opportunities available for post-secondary students and recent graduates who identify as having a disability?

Yes. The CSSG has prioritized equal access to volunteer opportunities to ensure all student participants can take full advantage of the program.

Volunteer Placement Managers are available to talk through accessibility needs and work with applicants to match them with an accessible and meaningful volunteer opportunity.

Can student volunteers request to be placed in a volunteer opportunity with someone they know?

Post-secondary students and recent graduates are welcome to register for volunteer opportunities that are listed on the I Want to Help platform (www.canada.ca/iwanttohelp). While there may be several volunteer opportunities available with a participating not-for-profit organization, the CSSG cannot guarantee that student participant can be placed in a volunteer opportunity with someone they know.

Can post-secondary students and recent graduates who volunteer with a not-for-profit organization that is not listed on the I Want to Help Platform still be eligible to receive the CSSG?

Yes, a student participant may use volunteer hours accrued in a volunteer opportunity not listed on the I Want to Help platform towards a Canada Student Service Grant. The volunteer opportunity must, however, take place with a not-for-profit organization and be uploaded and registered on the I Want to Help platform before the student participant will be eligible to apply for a grant. The Government recommends that the student participant 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 public health regulations.

Will Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) student participants receive recognition at the end of their volunteer opportunity?

Yes. Upon the successful completion of their volunteer opportunity, student participants will receive a certification of completion, and specific wording which can be noted on their resumes.

How many volunteer hours need to be completed to receive a grant after the completion of their Canadian Student Service Grant (CSSG) volunteer opportunity?

Upon verified completion of their CSSG volunteer opportunity, student volunteers can also apply to receive a grant between $1,000 and $5000.

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 grant).

Is the Canada Student Service Grant paid directly to post-secondary educational costs? The Canada Student Service Grant is not paid directly towards tuition but is intended to help post-secondary students and recent graduates with expenses during these exceptional circumstances. It is, however, the discretion of the student participant to allocate the funds as they see fit.

Are the grants distributed to eligible student participants taxable?

Yes. All Canada Student Service Grants are considered taxable income.