I thank the member for the acknowledgement of the very challenging and unprecedented time we all find ourselves in. The public service, just like the government and all members of Parliament, has been working around the clock, as have Canadians.
This was really another program within the suite of programs that we put forward for students and youth. We know that COVID-19 has impacted all Canadians and has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable, and youth are no exception. We know that young people have been rolling up their sleeves and giving back to communities to help heal communities during this challenging time. This was really about ensuring that young people, students, were being rewarded for meeting service opportunities, not only within their communities but also within others by a virtual platform, thus helping heal their own communities and others virtually.
When we launched the program, there was immediately massive demand for it. We saw 35,000 applications submitted by students who wanted to participate. The conversations continue. Students want to see this program delivered. Not-for-profits want the support. That's why I am committed to seeing this program delivered.
Our focus remains on Canadians. Our focus remains on vulnerable Canadians. That's exactly why, when the contribution agreement was negotiated, we ensured that we were collecting disaggregated data so that the most vulnerable in our society would have an opportunity to give back and heal communities.
This is a very innovative program. Volunteers, as we know, from coast to coast to coast, are instrumental in the work that not-for-profits do. They should not go unrecognized. This was one way of not only thanking them for their service, but rewarding students. We know that the financial burden on them, come their post-secondary education costs in the fall, would be high. We just were providing a grant to help them out during this very challenging time.