April 14, 2020

Important updates related to COVID-19

As we all continue to work together to support each other and those most vulnerable in our communities, we are pleased to share clarification from the federal government on a few recent advocacy wins that benefit students:

For students and employers: during our weekly COVID-19 webinar, Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) shared changes made to the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) to assist students and employers during the COVID-19 outbreak, including:

  • Post-secondary institutions are now eligible to hire students under SWPP and receive a wage subsidy, start dates and duration of placements will be more flexible, and students will be permitted to work remotely or from home. View our full update online.

For summer jobs: the federal government announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will help employers hire summer staff and help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age. Temporary changes to the program for this year include:

  • an increase to the wage subsidy so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the local minimum wage for each employee;
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.

For college and institute research grants: NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC are looking to rapidly mobilize support and expertise related to COVID-19. Grants of up to $75,000 for one-year projects are being made available on expedited timelines through the College and Community Innovation program.

For international students: we are pleased to share that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended online delivery exemptions for Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students:

  • Students with a study permit or who have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June can begin and complete up to 50% of their program online from abroad in anticipation of a transition to Canada. View our full update online.

While our hope is that students can transition to Canada or begin new programs in the fall, we continue to ask for flexibility should the situation not improve and students remain unable to travel to Canada for reasons beyond their control.

Postponement of Leadership Institutes

Given the continuing concerns over COVID-19 and in keeping with the recommendations of public health officials to avoid large gatherings and limit non-essential travel, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s summer Leadership Institutes to June 2021. Registered participants have been contacted and are eligible for a full refund or transfer of registration fees to summer 2021.

Leadership Institutes scheduled to take place in November 2020 will continue as planned unless otherwise noted. Our primary concern has been, and will always remain, the health and well-being of our members, participants, and partners.

Calling on each other for support

In the latest issue of our Perspectives newsletter, we shared how colleges and institutes have answered the call for support from the federal government, donating equipment used in practical nursing and medical training, such as surgical face masks, gloves, gowns, and hospital beds; and how many have put their research and innovation teams to work developing and producing new equipment. Be sure to subscribe for more on the college and institute response to COVID-19.


  • Our new COVID-19 webpage gathers all of our most recent updates,including advocacy with the federal government and freely available teaching and learning resources. Be sure to check in often.
  • Join our weekly webinar series for updates on our efforts in Ottawa and to share amongst yourselves how the situation is evolving in your various regions and what approaches you are taking to tackle the challenges. Join us every Friday at noon.

This is a challenging time that calls upon each one of us to act in the best interests of all Canadians, and citizens around the world. Keep up the good work we’ve seen from coast to coast to coast.