Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
COVID-19 – Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: July 13, 2022


Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) payments received during the reference period. This benefit was intended to provide income support for students and recent graduates who were unable to work, or unable to find work, due to the COVID‑19 pandemic and the public health measures implemented to minimize the spread of the virus.

For the 2021 Census, the reference period for income data is the calendar year 2020, unless otherwise specified.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021 (100% data).

Reported for

Population aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Variable derived based on administrative tax and benefit records received from the Canada Revenue Agency.


Positive dollar value or nil


See 'Remarks' under total income.

This variable is a component of the COVID‑19 – Emergency and recovery benefits, which is itself a component of Government transfers not included elsewhere.

The CESB paid a taxable $1,250 for a 4‑week period for a maximum of 16 weeks. The benefit eligibility period was from May 10, 2020 through August 29, 2020. Applicant could also get an extra $750 (total benefit amount of $2,000) for each 4‑week period, if they had a disability or dependants. Students are not eligible for the CESB if they are receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance benefits for the same four‑week period as their current application.

Three categories of students are eligible for the CESB:

  1. Students enrolled in a post‑secondary education program
  2. Students who have graduated from or left their post‑secondary studies no earlier than December 2019
  3. Students who have completed, or will complete, high school in 2020 and have applied for a post‑secondary education program that begins before February 1, 2021

For additional information about COVID‑19 benefits, data collection method, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data, refer to the Income Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.

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