The CERB is a drop in the bucket compared to money we have lost over the last twenty years through tax avoidance rules for Canadian corporations
We are hearing many stories about workers getting the $2,000 per month through Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). That is not a generous amount of money when we consider what it actually takes to live and/or raise a family.
Stories workers being better off is only true for those employed in part-time, casual or precarious employment.
Some of the focus must be on the real issues of the low wage economy we have become accustomed to. It should spark a debate about how workers are treated and the need for a basic income and the need to get to a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour. Two thousand dollars a month, less the $350 for tax equates to less than minimum wage for a 40-hour week.
Lost in the discussion is that people are spending that money directly in the communities where they live. Imagine that if the millions of people who now find themselves without a job had no spending ability? The simple fact is those who have received the CERB payments are spending locally, therefore driving the economy.
Why is there not more media attention on government funding billion-dollar corporations with offshore tax accounts? When the rich put their money offshore and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, we don’t hear much about that. For example, in 2016, the Parliamentary Budget office reviewed more than 15,000 corporations that filed T106 forms in 2016. It is estimated that in 2016 that just over $900 billion was moved by Canadian corporations and their affiliates to offshore tax havens.
The CERB is a drop in the bucket compared to the money we lost over the last twenty years through tax avoidance rules for Canadian corporations. Let’s talk about changing the laws to ensure everyone pays their fair share.
COVID – 19 has exposed many things and it’s not the poor minimum wage worker who made the decisions to get us where we are today. Lost tax dollars from who are legally avoiding taxes that should be going into government coffers that are the problem. Nothing fair about that.
Some part-time workers who were laid off from their jobs are seeing a bigger paycheque than before the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you are an employer who had casual part-time workers, you need to ask yourself why your employees would rather be on CERB? Then ask yourself, as a small business owner, why should the big corporation be allowed to get tax dollars when many of them pay fewer taxes in Canada then you do? The system must change and workers deserve higher wages and full-time work with benefits.
Danny Cavanagh, President
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour