March 17th, 2020
Albertans need support to deal with COVID-19 impacts now
We are grateful for the steps that the Liberal government has taken to protect public health in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. These steps are necessary to protect Canadians, to slow down the spread of the virus, and to relieve the burden on our healthcare systems.
Over the past two weeks, the government has also taken steps to shore up markets, financial institutions, and corporations.
But for weeks now, New Democrats have been calling on the government to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. We’ve been calling for direct assistance and wage replacement for working class families, protections for workers and tenants, an extension on tax filing and CRA deadlines, and support and supplies for Indigenous communities.
Now, just days in to this crisis response, we are already witnessing the profound impacts COVID-19 pandemic measures are having on vulnerable Canadians.
In Edmonton Strathcona, workers are losing their jobs or having their hours cut – many don’t qualify right now for EI benefits. Families are worried about losing their homes. Desperate small business owners are laying off staff, attempting to save their businesses. Seniors and low-income families are challenged to find food and other necessities.
Ordinary Canadians are paying the price for this pandemic and they need help – right now.
Beyond being the right thing to do, investing in and helping Canadians will help stimulate the economy.
Here’s what New Democrats are calling for, as outlined last week:
- Make sure no one falls through the cracks with direct assistance for working class families, similar to what Australia is doing;
- Protect workers, their families and their co-workers by expanding paid leave for federal workers and fiscal supports for all type of workers;
- Give Canadians breathing room with an extension of tax filing deadlines and payment deadlines to CRA;
- Protect jobs and the economy with fiscal stabilization and stimulus measures – at least 1% of GDP with a focus on working people and small businesses;
- Keep people safely housed with an eviction, foreclosure and utility shutoff moratorium;
- Ensure the necessary supplies and supports are immediately delivered to indigenous communities;
- Articulate a clear plan for Canada’s veterans and armed forces who rely on the government to deliver the health services they need; and
- Suspend the collection of monthly payments for the Canada Student Loan Program without penalty or additional interest.
We are in the midst of the most serious public health crisis of the last century. Working class people and families need help to do the right thing for public health.