University of Toronto
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Canadian college and university students, even as they’re far less likely to become gravely ill from the disease than their grandparents.
According to Statistics Canada, the most common disruption has been a delay or cancellation of work placements.
In a survey of 100,000 postsecondary students from April 19 to May 1, this was cited by 35 per cent of respondents.
“Just over one-quarter (26 per cent) reported that some of their courses were postponed or cancelled by their institutions, including course work such as labs, applied learning and hands-on instruction that cannot be delivered online,” the federal agency stated.
“A further 11 per cent of participants indicated they were not able to complete their degree, diploma or certificate as planned, while 10 per cent were not able to complete some of their winter-term courses.”
More than half – 54 per cent – expressed that they were “very or extremely concerned” that their diploma, degree, or certificate would not be viewed as the equivalent of those credentials earned by students in a period not affected by COVID-19.
Among those who were employed at the beginning of March, 55 per cent reported either losing their job or being laid off by May. Another 26 per cent said they are working fewer hours.
Statistics Canada acknowledged that the data was not collected using “probability-based sampling,” so the numbers cannot be applied to the overall population of students in Canada.
“However, the results provide a snapshot of the experiences of participating students and – given the large number of participants – offer valuable insights,” it stated.
Ottawa has announced several initiatives to help students and young people weather the coronavirus pandemic.
On April 22, the federal government announced $9 billion in funding programs for students and recent graduates, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The program will give students up to $1,250 per month from May to August. Students that take care of someone else or have a disability will get $1,750 per month.
People making up to $1,000 per month and attending post-secondary school right now, going to college in fall or graduated in December 2019 are eligible.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa is will also create 76,000 jobs for young people, in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs Program, in sectors in need or on front lines of pandemic, and extend research fellowships and grants by three or four months, depending on a researcher’s funding.
This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight. With files from Kevin Ritchie.
This content was originally published here.