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Kendall Worth: A rocky ride – Income assistance, CERB, and now EI, maybe

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – People on income assistance with part time jobs who were told to switch to CERB by Community Services have had a rocky ride. Many are feeling anxious about the latest developments.

I keep hearing about relatives pressuring people on income assistance who have part time jobs to give up those jobs and return to their families in rural Nova Scotia to be ready for a second wave of Covid.

See also: Kendall Worth: For many on social assistance moving back to rural Nova Scotia right now is a bad idea

They are saying “No, we will not be doing this! If we had spent the days of self isolation where we grew up in rural Nova Scotia then we would not have been nearly as busy as we were here in the city during that time.” I feel that way myself as well.

First some good news.

Over these past few weeks some income assistance recipients who have part time jobs have returned to work. They are happy to be back, their part time jobs are what keeps them out of social isolation.  

By the way, others aren’t that lucky, and many soup kitchens still are only doing take out. 

Now the bad news. There is also the issue of harassment by Community Services and Service Canada.

In early September emails from Service Canada were sent to everyone on CERB saying they will once again get clawed back from CERB. Some people who were expecting a CERB payment on September 8th ended up not receiving that payment. That is a problem.

As well, the federal government is announcing that there are changes happening in EI, and people have been told by Service Canada that under these new changes they might be able to still work their part time jobs and collect some support from EI benefits. DCS caseworkers are also behaving like they believe this could be an option. 

This is confusing, because Income Assistance caseworkers have also been contacting clients about meeting about transiting from CERB back to income assistance.

Income assistance recipients are left in the dark about whether or not they are going to continue to receive EI after the CERB.

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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One Comment

  1. Sadly, pretty much everything is complicated and uncertain when dealing with DCS and income assistance. I am not at all surprised. So much for the “transformation.”

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