Mr. Chair, I apologize. My remarks are in both languages, back and forth. I'm going to do my best to just do English, so please indulge me.
Hello, everyone. I'm pleased to join you today to speak about the measures to support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic as they pertain to my current portfolio.
Before I begin, I'd like to thank the committee for your study on our government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your work is truly essential to our democratic process.
It's been nearly two months now that Canadians have been adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic gripping our country and the world. To give you a sense of the scope of the need, I can tell you that we've received 11.38 million applications, of which we have processed 11.29 million applications under the Canada emergency response benefit, both through Service Canada and through the CRA. A total of $30.48 billion in payments have been made to 7.83 million people.
The CERB was created to come to the aid of Canadians during these unprecedented circumstances. In reality, our EI system was not built for the situation of a global pandemic. It doesn't cover all the different situations in which Canadians find themselves in this time of a public health crisis. Service Canada and CRA stepped up, formed a team, and in the space of a couple of weeks elaborated and put into place a system that really responded to Canadians' needs. For eligible workers, the CERB provides temporary income support of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. It applies to workers who have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19. It also supports working parents who are staying home to care for children because of school and day care closures.
We've made extraordinary efforts to make this emergency benefit as inclusive as possible. Workers, including the self-employed, can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the benefit. The benefit also applies to workers who've recently exhausted their regular EI benefit payments and aren't able to start working again because of COVID-19. This helps many seasonal workers, including fishers and those in the tourism industry, who may not have had their usual seasonal work to return to as a result of COVID-19.
Now I'll say a word about supporting temporary foreign workers and ensuring Canada's food supply.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to bring in the needed temporary foreign workers. That's why we've made modifications to our temporary foreign worker program to try to add some flexibility to the system. I want to emphasize that there are definitely jobs available for Canadians in the areas that are also supported by temporary foreign workers, as has been the case historically.
I'll now say a word about students and youth.
We've announced comprehensive support for post-secondary students and recent graduates, representing an investment of approximately $9 billion. As part of that support, we introduced a four-month Canada emergency student benefit. Students who are not receiving the CERB and meet the criteria for this new benefit will be able to apply to receive $1,250 per month between May and August. Students with permanent disabilities and students with dependants could receive an additional $750 per month.
We've heard a lot in the past few weeks about how these payments might disincentivize students to work. Well, that's not what we've heard from young people across the country. We've heard very clearly from students that they want to work and serve in their communities in this time of crisis. That's why we also announced the creation of 76,000 additional jobs and training opportunities, including jobs in the agriculture and processing sectors, through mechanisms such as our youth employment and skills strategy program. This is on top of the 70,000 jobs that will be available through the Canada summer jobs program, with greater flexibility for employers to hire young people this summer and through the fall.
Other important measures to help students during the COVID-19 pandemic are changes to the Canada student loans program. These changes will expand eligibility, increase the weekly cap and double the value of our grants. These new measures came in addition to earlier measures to pause the repayment of student and apprentice loans, interest-free, until September 30, 2020.
Mr. Chair, we've taken these measures with the goal of helping Canadians and supporting our economy. As the situation evolves, my colleagues in cabinet and I will be ready to respond to whatever Canadians need.
I'm available now for questions.