May 4, 2020

Keeping students connected and supported during COVID-19

Last week, the Government of Canada announced a historic $9-billion student aid package to help alleviate the financial burden faced by many students who are finding their summer job prospects severely limited as a result of restrictions on businesses caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This has been one of our principal advocacy priorities and we are thrilled to see the federal government take action to help students. This financial aid means that all students will have the resources needed to continue their studies, including those among the most vulnerable when global crises disrupt the status quo.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shared how colleges and institutes have come to the aid of medical professionals, employing applied research facilities and 3D printers to find innovative ways of meeting demand for medical equipment; and have responded to physical distancing measures by moving teaching and learning online. But colleges and institutes always have their students top of mind, and have moved quickly to make sure student supports, from academics and tutoring opportunities, to finance, well-being and mental health support would remain available despite campus closures and disruption.

Our members have made a wealth of support mechanisms available for students during this time, including resources for managing stress and anxiety, tailored approaches for Indigenous students, help in acquiring necessary equipment to complete studies virtually, and creative ways of maintaining connected communities while physically distancing. For example:

Mental health remains a vital issue for students and all Canadians alike. Just yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians, including investment to support the federal government’s new Wellness Together Canada website. Don’t forget to take advantage of resources made available by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.