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CRA Update: Emergency $5,000 Payment for Students

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The Canada Student Service Grant is expected to offer cash incentives ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for students “helping in the fight against COVID-19.” This federal program is a follow up to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

Grant offers payment for volunteer work

In announcing the program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts, or just give back. If you’re volunteering instead of working, we’re going to make sure that you have support too.”

According to one official, the government is close to finalizing the kind of volunteer work that will count and the number of hours needed to qualify for various levels of grant money. Volunteer organizations like Volunteer Toronto, Canada’s largest volunteer centre, are reportedly actively engaged with the federal government to learn more.

Investment opportunities

For many students, the grant will help them finance their education. Without summer employment, these students cannot afford to continue their studies. Others may be using this money to help with their family’s expenses, especially if members of their family have been affected by job loss during the pandemic.

For some students, this may be an opportunity to build their savings through investments. One stock to consider is Lightspeed POS (TSX:LSPD).

Lightspeed

Lightspeed began trading on the TSX in March of 2019. The stock soared quickly out of the gate, rising more than 150% in its first five months of trading.

The company offers POS (point-of-sale) hardware and cloud-based payment, inventory, employee, and customer management solutions. Most of its clients are small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Due to the closure of retail stores and restaurants during the pandemic, the company saw its stock fall over 70%, as investors expected to see Lightspeed’s growth plummet. While the stock initially fell along with the broader market, the stock has recovered somewhat. As of this writing, the stock is trading at $32.02, up significantly from its 52-week low of $10.50.

During the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release in May, Lightspeed reported increases in customer locations, total revenue, and gross profit. These results were bolstered by the company’s quick actions to adjust its services during the peak of the COVID-19 shutdown. The company offered free three-month subscriptions to some of its products, including Lightspeed e-commerce.

This trial program resulted in a 400% increase in gross transaction volume by the end of March compared to the previous month.

The bottom line

Service providers like Lightspeed, which were once seen as a competitive differentiator, are now essential to retailers hoping to compete in this post-pandemic world.

As CEO Dax Dasilva said, “We are witnessing a historic shift in the way small and medium-sized businesses, the businesses at the heart of our communities, engage in commerce. Being omni-channel has never been more important.”

Students who receive money from Canada’s COVID-19 response plan should think about building a solid foundation to ensure future financial security. Investments in tech companies like Lightspeed, which are well suited to the changing retail landscape, could be a part of this financial foundation.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Cindy Dye has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc.

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