Canada Recovery Benefit
International students in Canada may be eligible to bi-weekly payouts under the country's latest COVID-19 benefit scheme. Source: David Gray/AFP

Canada has rolled out a new benefit scheme called the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) from Sept. 27, 2020, to Sept. 25, 2021, and this time, you could get an international student stimulus cheque. It is an extension of the now-defunct Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which was targeted towards unemployed citizens.

This is great news for international students and immigrants who did not qualify for the CERB. You can apply for the CRB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which is now accepting applications for the next two weeks. Successful applicants will receive 900 Canadian dollars (after tax) in your account within three to five business days.

international student stimulus cheque

Customers wait outside of a Best Buy store in downtown Toronto, Ontario on Nov. 23, 2020. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

Here, we’ve compiled the main details all international students in Canada should know.

How does it work?

The biweekly CRB payout does not renew automatically, so you must apply every two weeks if you wish to continue benefiting. However, bear in mind that you may only do this for 13 two-week periods. According to the government website, “Each two-week period starts on a Sunday and ends on the Saturday of the following week.” This means you should apply on the first Monday after the two-week period has ended.

How do international students qualify for the Canada Recovery Benefit?

Immigrants are accounted for in the CRB, as long as they are actively searching for a job and did not quit their job or reduce hours voluntarily on or after Sept. 27, 2020. You qualify for this benefit scheme if you meet all criteria below:

  • Unemployed or self-employed as a result of COVID-19 OR experienced a 50% reduction in your average weekly income compared to last year
  • Living in Canada (sorry, remote learners!)
  • At least 15 years old with your own Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Earned at least CA$5,000 in 2019 or the last 12 months
  • Did not apply for or receive the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), Employment Insurance (EI), or any short-term disability or workers’ compensation benefits
  • Previously ineligible for EI benefits

How to apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit?

You may apply for an international student stimulus cheque online or by phone. Be patient, as it can take up to four weeks to process your application. Since the CRA wants to ensure these payouts are going to those who need them most, you may be asked to provide additional information to support your application. Head to the official website to begin the process.