How Will COVID-19 Impact Summer Jobs?


Were you expecting to work a summer job, an internship, or coop placement as soon as school let out? You are not alone.

Many students find themselves in job limbo due to COVID-19. However, some high school and post-secondary students who work full-time or have an internship throughout the school year are lucky enough to make the remote transition with ease. Some of their employers are even offering a full-time position when they graduate. 

What Does This Mean For Students That Don’t Have Summer Jobs Lined Up?

Many students were relying on that summer income to pay off student debt, future tuition costs, rent, and basic necessities. Even though the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available for Canadians who lose their jobs due to COVID-19, many students find that they do not qualify. This leaves some students without the experience and money they counted on earning during their summer break. 

Approximately one million young people (ages 15 – 24) hit the job market during the summer months. But, there are limited opportunities available for them this year. Students tend to work casual, seasonal, or part-time jobs that pay less than $5,000 a year. An income of at least $5,000 is a requirement for CERB. So, students that only work during the summer, when classes are finished for the school year, have not necessarily lost their job because of COVID-19. In this case, they may not be eligible for CERB. Unfortunately, finding summer work amidst this crisis will be difficult, if at all possible.

To find out if you can apply for CERB, read Are You Eligible For CERB?

What is the Canadian Government Doing to Help?

To help employers hire summer staff, which provides young Canadians with summer jobs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that temporary changes were being made to the Canada Summer Jobs program to create roughly 70,000 jobs for youth (ages 15 – 30). These changes include: 

  • Employers can hire on a part-time basis.
  • Employers can modify current job activities to support essential services.
  • An increased wage subsidy.

Basically, small businesses should be able to hire and keep workers to continue delivering essential services. As a way of earning income, Trudeau also suggests that students consider working on a farm or fishery this summer as those jobs will remain necessary. 

What’s Next For Students?

In response to financial gaps left by the CERB, the government is rolling out the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). CESB will provide eligible students with $1,275 a month (or $1,750 a month for those who also have dependents and/or disabilities) from May until August 2020. We are awaiting further details on how to apply for CESB and who will be eligible, so follow the news for the most recent updates.