Danny Cavanagh: Blaming the workers and the minimal government benefits they receive is unfair. It is also unfair to portray workers as lazy and unproductive. It is fair to say that today’s workforce wants better than low-wage part-time jobs without benefits. They will no longer tolerate being called part-time while working full-time hours. They want paid sick leave and other workplace benefits.
People living on our country’s lowest incomes will never be able to repay thousands of dollars of CERB debt without serious detriment to their health and well-being.
Among the people who applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) while being ineligible are some of the most poor and marginalized people in Nova Scotia. Now the federal government is considering demanding that money paid to ineligible applicants be returned, and poverty advocates fear this will push many into an even more dire financial situation.
COVID-19 has hit the very poor in Nova Scotia hard and left many of those living with mental health issues in a very precarious place. That was the urgent message delivered by staff members of the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association to the Community Services Standing Committee.
NS Federation of Labour president Danny Cavanagh compares the media’s relentless focus on CERB abuses with the relative neglect of similar abuse of the countless COVID support programs in place for businesses. Meanwhile, at least 68 Canadian companies have continued to pay out billions in dividends to their shareholders while receiving government aid.
After 50 years of promises there still is no universal child care program in Canada. Meanwhile, the Covid shutdown has brought women to the lowest level of participation in the paid labour force in three decades. Women’s unemployment surpassed men’s for the first time in 30 years. Is there an economic war on women? I ask you to judge for yourself, writes Judy Haiven.
Kendall Worth: “We shouldn’t have to depend on an income assistance system with lots of obstacles for people who live with visible and invisible disabilities.”
Kendall Worth writes about the challenges for people on income assistance with part time jobs. They were told to get off assistance and on to CERB, and ever since it’s been a rocky road.
Raymond Sheppard in a letter to the prime minister: “Your office and the Federal Liberal Party are on record as trying to pass legislation to penalize those individuals who out of desperation might have accessed CERB funds. This act would only serve to re-victimize African Canadians who have suffered long and hard in this country and continue to do so.”
Danny Cavanagh looks at the changes announced last week to Employment Insurance. On face value, it looks like these changes may be a relief for some workers in the short term, but there’s lots of room for much needed improvements.