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Recently I was reflecting on my finances. Thinking of how I made less money this past summer than I anticipated, but feel comforted by the fact that I’m not alone in this situation.

When quarantine started, I had two different jobs set up for the summer months that I was really looking forward to, and I thought for sure at least one of them would still happen. Naturally, neither of them ended up being able to happen at all, so I spent the summer nannying for a few different families.

Ultimately, your girl was broke. I had a lot of difficulty finding a job, and making way less than I thought I would. One day I got an email from the person who was supposed to be my boss, letting the staff know that the government was launching a new program. This program, with $912 million set aside to fund it on top of CESB and CERB, would pair students with not-for-profits, allow them to get volunteer hours that they could convert to money that would go toward their university tuition. The program was called CSSG, the Canada Student Service Grant. Perhaps you’ve heard of this, or maybe you were also enrolled in the program.

I’m writing about this because I can’t seem to figure out why no one is talking about this anymore. I feel like it is actually a huge deal, and an even bigger scandal.


Golden piggy bank
Pixabay - Quince Media

I heard about this program at the beginning of June. Supposedly, students would communicate through email with a coordinator who was involved in the program, apply on the CSSG portal and then be assigned a volunteer placement. The application process explained that you would be able to get up to $5000 in tuition money for 500 volunteer hours.

$5000 for 500 volunteer hours sounded like an amazing deal to me; getting the experience of working with a not-for-profit during covid, having something that resembled a job, and the fact that $5000 is a very significant amount of money that could lessen the burden of tuition, especially with school being online.

I was set up with an organizer from the CSSG program, she asked me for all my information, my resume, etc. Then, best case scenario, I found out I could get my volunteer hours from my camp where I was supposed to work in the first place! The camp director organized the staff and gave us different jobs, some on site and some administrative, such as writing a manual for a particular section. Groups of us were sent to camp (socially distanced) to do on-site maintenance for weeks at a time.


Unsplash

I did about 200 volunteer hours before the scandal broke that there was a conflict of interest with the program since Trudeau’s mother and brother were being paid to speak at ME to WE events. At the time, it was said that WE could no longer be paired with the CSSG program, but the government would find another charity or organization to associate this program with so that students could still benefit from the program.

I haven’t heard anything since July, but I continued to get my volunteer hours in case anything materialized. Still nothing! Even better, when I have googled “Where did the CSSG money go?”, the most recent results are from August, and there has still been no statement issued about whatever happened to the nearly $1 billion allocated to this program. Very mysterious. 

I know there are much, much more important issues in the world right now, but I haven’t heard of anyone else in the same situation, and was surprised that the CSSG seems to now be forgotten. 

 

I'm a third year student studying Economics and my inspiration for writing is fueled by premenstrual symptoms! Cheers!
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