Like most Canadians, we in CJPME are thankful for the Trudeau government’s aid package in response to the Coronavirus. This help is essential for Canadians who are losing jobs, income and livelihoods. While many Canadians are still vulnerable, these past few days have seen the Coronavirus arrive in Gaza, and other vulnerable places. Qatar has offered $150 million to Gaza, and the WHO has sent experts.
While we thank the Trudeau government, we also ask it to ADD aid for Gaza and other extremely vulnerable international communities, including refugees, to ADD aid for Canada’s migrant and undocumented workers, to ADD aid for those under immigration authority, to ADD aid for Canada's poor and marginalized.
Earlier this week, the Trudeau government announced an $82 billion package that provides aid for many Canadians. CJPME provides a summary of this aid to individuals below. Whereas this aid will provide much-need help for many people in the mainstream of Canadian society, those on the margins risk being overlooked. In addition, while CJPME is happy to hear that the Trudeau government is considering international aid as part of its response to Coronavirus, CPJME wants to ensure that the world’s refugees – especially those in crowded camps in the Middle East – are among the recipients. CJPME joins other voices in calling for a truly holistic Canadian response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
A high-level view of what is INCLUDED in Canada’s aid package for individuals includes:
- No wait time for unemployment insurance (EI) benefits
- Income support for people who don’t lose their jobs, but risk having reduced hours.
- Emergency benefits for people who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance or sickness benefits.
- A boost to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) subsidy.
- An increase to the annual Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) for low-income Canadians.
- A delay in the tax filing deadline.
- A deferral of mortgage payments.
- A six-month moratorium on student load payments.
- Lower mandatory withdrawals for retirees on their retirement accounts – to avert locking in stock market losses.
A high-level view of what is OVERLOOKED in Canada’s aid package for individuals includes:
- Aid for Canada’s poor: people who don’t have the accommodations to self-isolate, don’t have the money to stockpile food, don’t have fixed addresses, etc.
- International aid to help combat the pandemic, especially for vulnerable refugee populations in crowded camps, especially among Palestinians and those impacted by the Syrian civil war.
- Healthcare for people in Canada whose status risks excluding them from care: e.g. denied immigrants, etc.
- Help for migrant and undocumented workers who don’t get paid sick leave.
- A relaxation of laws for those who face detention and deportation, and may be afraid to seek the health and other support that they may need.
- Help for migrant and other non-status people who may need housing, shelter, food, child care support, and other aid.