Covid-19 government support for people who don’t qualify for income assistance

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Misfit Misfit's picture
Covid-19 government support for people who don’t qualify for income assistance

This is a thread topic of its own to try to draw attention to the situation and to highlight the magnitude of this crisis. Roughly 1,000,000 Canadians desperately need income assistance from the federal government CERB program but do not qualify. People who have been unemployed at the start of the Covid crisis and Employment Insurance has already run out , people who are currently on employment insurance but their fourteen weeks will expire before this crisis is over are just two categories of many who need help but are not receiving it. 
 

This is unacceptable in a country like Canada. This thread is to identify the people in need and then look for solutions to force the government to take immediate action to remedy this problem.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Lady runs a daycare. Her number of children that she looks after has been cut in half yet her expenses remain the same. She does not qualify for any of the programs. She works looking after children whose parents provide essential services.
 

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/m.huffingtonpost.ca/amp/entry/cerb-covid-19-canada_ca_5e8e68aac5b6b371812b888b/

Misfit Misfit's picture

This is an example of a person who went on EI sickness benefits and could not return to her originalital job. She was looking for other work when covid hit. Now she is out of work, she cannot look for work due to covid-19, and her income support dried up leaving her strapped for money to live on.
 

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/6788907/coronavirus-no-job-no-ei-cerb/amp/

Sean in Ottawa

Yes, far too many without benefits. And the stories are all different. Piecemeal won't work.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i know someone who applied for cerb and was accepted. what that person was told by cra is that they are granting money to most everyone (within their parameters) and then go back later to see if they qualify. if later they find someone didn't qualify there would be a repayment expected.  

eastnoireast

epaulo13 wrote:

..i know someone who applied for cerb and was accepted. what that person was told by cra is that they are granting money to most everyone (within their parameters) and then go back later to see if they qualify. if later they find someone didn't qualify there would be a repayment expected.  

 

so at the very least it's a low interest loan. 

thinking practically, there's that, given how it's basically imposible to get credit if you don't have a normal job.

Sean in Ottawa

eastnoireast wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

..i know someone who applied for cerb and was accepted. what that person was told by cra is that they are granting money to most everyone (within their parameters) and then go back later to see if they qualify. if later they find someone didn't qualify there would be a repayment expected.  

 

so at the very least it's a low interest loan. 

thinking practically, there's that, given how it's basically imposible to get credit if you don't have a normal job.

2 Issues:

1) exposing yourself as a fraud to CRA may not be the smartest move unless you want a lifetime of audits. Just becuase they probably won't prosecute does not mean there will be no price to pay

2) committing fraud is not something everyone will want to do. So this is a great social experiment in finding out who is willing to commit fraud out of desperation. 

Only a vile government would do this.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i'm thinking the gov wants to get the money out quickly and are pushing the process to later. cra already has a good idea of who they are giving money to so it's unlikely to be fraud. in spite of that there will be people who don 't qualify. 

..i posted this here because those people should be added to the list started in this thread. 

Misfit Misfit's picture

The purpose of this thread is to identify all the people who have been left out of the compensation package. I wanted this in one thread rather than having issues tucked away in other threads.

This is a very serious issue and it needs to be exposed to all MPs that they are failing people with this package.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I don't think that CRA is known for low interest loans.

Sean in Ottawa

Misfit wrote:

I don't think that CRA is known for low interest loans.

Why should you be excluded for being honest either. This is like a benefit for the dishonest and a penalty in humiliation for others forced to knowingly lie.

Sean in Ottawa

epaulo13 wrote:

..i'm thinking the gov wants to get the money out quickly and are pushing the process to later. cra already has a good idea of who they are giving money to so it's unlikely to be fraud. in spite of that there will be people who don 't qualify. 

..i posted this here because those people should be added to the list started in this thread. 

It is fraud if you are not in the grey area. You have to assert that you stopped working becuase of this.

eastnoireast

fraud?  good lord.  calm down.  i'm not advising anyone to do anything illegal.

the gov itself is saying if you're not sure apply and we'll sort it out later, they want to get money to people who need it.

(if) it turns out while filing your 2020 tax return that you didn't in fact qualify, and you have to pay it back, that could be colloquially spoken of as a defacto low interest loan. 

and if that came to pass, i doubt very much if cra is going to  bring down "a lifetime of audits" apon the head of every canadian who messed up their cerb application.

seemed like a practical observation to me. 

 

kropotkin1951

If you out right lie to get CERB then likely Revenue Canada will come after you. I suspect they will put more effort into that than they have ever put into off shore tax dodges.

But back to the topic at hand inthis thread. Gord Johns my MP and NDP  Critic for Small Business and Tourism  is highlighting the reality of many of the people in our Island communities. Our tourist economy on Vancouver Island is mostly small businesses.

Dear Minister Ng and Minister Morneau,

We are writing to you today to share our deep concerns with the roll-out of the Canada Emergency

Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Relief Benefit. While both of these historic initiatives were welcome, there are still many Canadians who will receive no help from these programs and there are far too many questions and concerns from people across Canada that must be addressed.

Many small businesses, not-for-profits, non-profits, and charities are need clarity about whether or not they will qualify for the wage subsidy. We have heard from a number of organizations who were initially

led to believe they would, only to be told a few days later there are far more restrictions and qualifications. Not only is there a need to be more transparent with Canadians, but there must be clearer communications about what they can expect.

The wage subsidy, in its current iteration, leaves too many Canadians falling through the cracks. To address these shortfalls, we would recommend taking the following actions:

  • Remove the 30% drop in revenue requirement for SMEs with fewer than 50 employees. Many organizations have grown significantly in the past year or are seeing significant spikes in revenue right now. In either case, neither would qualify for the wage subsidy but still need the support to get through the next couple of months. Removing this requirement would remove a significant amount of uncertainty.
  • Remove payroll limits on the $40,000 loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account so that sole proprietors with limited payroll can access it, and offer a $10,000 immediate grant to enterprises who need help now in place of a reward for repayment of the loan. This action would allow the diversity of Canadian and Indigenous enterprises to apply for support and give an immediate injection of much needed critical cash.
  • Ensure every measure is being taken to speed-up the timeline to allow businesses to apply for support. The current 3 to 6-week timeline is far too vague for businesses to make definitive plans, and yet your government is telling businesses to re-hire and retain staff now. A lot of businesses operate on a week-to-week basis and can’t wait as long as 6 weeks to apply and then even longer to receive support.

Local business owners have closed their doors to help flatten the curve and to lead by example in protecting public health. But now they are learning that if they have too much income, like donations or meagre stipends to pay volunteers that serve as firefighters, ambulance drivers, or locally elected officials, they don’t qualify. This needs to be adjusted quickly.

We have also heard from several enterprises and workers about issues with the CERB. Part-time employees that have reduced hours or have lost other part-time jobs are living on significantly reduced incomes and still don’t qualify for CERB. The consequences are that they are now asking to be laid off or furloughed so that they can access the CERB. This is causing significant disruptions to normal business, to essential services, and to community contributions on local economies.

Businesses that rely on seasonal workers or student workers over the coming months don’t know if they’ll be able to open their doors and bring in more staff. While they can stay open now, they may not have the resources needed to hire seasonal or student staff. This affects the future revenue of the employer, and the supports that students and workers rely on. The CERB needs to be more inclusive to include more people who are losing income now and will be losing income in the coming months.

To better support those businesses and organizations that are working so hard to take care of their employees, we ask that you:

  • Work with banks and lenders to put a freeze on rent, mortgage, utility, and other fixed expenses that business incur. Follow the lead of other countries like Denmark, France, South Korea, and Australia to support small businesses and provide the assurance businesses need that there will be a strong future ahead. This would allow more enterprises to focus their limited revenue on supporting staff and protecting future revenues.
  • Improve the CERB with a universal direct payment for all people in Canada. Doing this would provide all Canadians, including part-time and seasonal workers, with assurances so that they can more confidently plan their finances in the coming months.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues. Moving ahead with these measures would help businesses and the people who run and work in them feel more confident during this unprecedented time. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Gord Johns, Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni

Peter Julian, Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby

NDPP

I must say it is good to see progressive Canadians finally paying some attention to the plight of the poverty-stricken. There's nothing like personal experience for awakening consciousness of oppression.

Sean in Ottawa

I have felt frustrated by the NDP in part becuase they have been flexible and creative when it comes to the wage subsidy but when it comes to help for individuals they have doubled down on "UBI or bust" and have only come up with bust.

While I support the UBI, they do not have the leverage to make it happen. I think this decision to go for a UBI and not offer to negotiate anything else is nice politicing for the next election but really screws the people who need help now. The NDP has been dismissed as having a nice idea that simply is not going to happen now.

Again, I support the UBI. But the problem with the UBI or bust position is that it is more comprehensive than what is needed just to deal with Covid19 and therfore easier to dismiss. We could have looked at a compromise proposal to really deal with the effects of Covid19. This would have allowed the logic of the crisis to create pressure.

So imagine we look at the potential for compromise and we can see that it existed. You have three categories here of people affected:

1) People who are paying more for things due to the pandemic - cleaning supplies, delivery services, covid related inflation

2) People who lost employment due to Covid19

3) People who were depending on the job market for Covid19 other than those in the category above

4) People with very low incomes who have lost  this very modest income

The first category is covered to a degree in the mechanism of the enhanced tax credits this year. The problem is that people have to file taxes to get it. A flat $1000 to all Canadians on file at the CRA would have accomplished this better, clawing it back on higher incomes.

The second category is what the plan seems to have been trying to cover. Help for those who lost a job in the crisis. With tweaks it could work. For any who lost a job due to Covid 19, drop the first requirement of needing $5000 in income last year. This could be replaced with easier to meet criteria: 

a) earned $2000 in any of the first three months of 2020

b) worked more than $400 in any one week this year

c) earned from any source $2500 in the last year

The rationale would be to capture people who had a job and lost it in a much more flexible way than the $5000 present requirement. It still excludes those who were dependents unlike the UBI. However, it does capture

The third category is people who were relying on the existence of the job market but did not have a job at the time. This covers students, unemployed people, people with term contracts ending, people who had quit jobs and were in transition. Now these people are not covered. There are different ways that you can determine if they were affected. Any should qualify:

1) Had applied for a job proving they were in the job market

2) had qualilfied for a, b, of c above under the second criteria due to earnings

3) had attended school either in the fall of 2019 or winter of 2020

You see what I did above? I sought to capture any who were affected in terms of their income by the downturn while exluding those that might be good to include in a UBI but who were not affected due to this employment crisis. Those could be advocated for in a different context than one focused on making right the situations of those affected by Covid19.the key wpoeple actually affected by Covid19

The simplest solution and what should have been an absolute dealbreaker on the NDP's vote should have been to change the AND into an OR with respect to the present conditions of

1) needing to have had $5,000 as a result of employment last year (could be EI)

AND (make this an "or" and you include the majority of those excluded in that one word change)

2) Losing work due to Covid19

Right of the bat you would get anyone who lost a job to #covid19 even if they did not have $5000 last year and you would get those who had this much income as a result of employment but lost their job for other reasons prior or after this happened.

A one word change. It would have been simple and likely would have reduced dramatically the number affected by Covid 19. the problem for most people was the double hoop eligibility. M proposal above would be even better but the impact of this one word change would have been worth trench warfare for the NDP. It was the minimum they should ahve accepted to vote for.

If you went with the simple solution above you could advocate to combine it with two modest proposals to make it work even better:

1) allow for a half recipe: if you met half the criteria in earnings - say $2,500 instead of the $5,000  and had not lost work due to Covid 19 -- then you could draw half the benefit -- $1000/month for 4 months. Not bad as you would get more than you made last year. This is a simple easy to understand compromise.

2) capture grads, students (who passed high school) and any term contracts ending automatically with the full Covid benefits even if they did not otherwise qualify

The fourth category is those who earned less than $2500 last year. You could offer low fixed payments to those who earned below $2500 of whatever they made last year in a single payment. Not the UBI or the full benefit but in one shot you match last year.

You see there was plenty of room for the NDP to compromise without UBI or bust. They could have got help for many people with a proposal more likely to have been accepted. The full UBI was not going to happen for a party that won only 10% of the seats in the recent election. To make progress the NDP needed to compromise and to have a minimum position other than getting everything.

Hopefully you can see why I am so furious with the NDP now.

 

jerrym

The Trudeau Liberal government has loosened the rules for its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program but it still leaves a lot of people out of the program. It also doesn't make sense; for example in that 1.4 million part time workers earning between $1,000 and 2,000 a month are not eligible for the $2,000 a month payment. People currently collecting less than $2,000 a month on EI can't get the benefit. 

The CERB will become available to Canadians who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits since Jan. 1, seasonal workers who can’t find work because of COVID-19 and those who earn up to $1,000 a month, the prime minister said.

Ottawa is also planning to work with the provinces and territories to provide financial help to essential workers, such as those employed in long-term care homes, who earn less than $2,500 a month.

The CERB currently provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to Canadians who have lost all of their income because of the health emergency.

The new rules will likely extend CERB eligibility to an estimated 1.1 million Canadians who are still working but saw their hours drastically reduced amid COVID-19, said David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Extending eligibility to Canadians who recently ran out of EI would bring another 55,000 workers into the program, Macdonald estimates.

Ottawa also said it will expand access to the emergency benefit to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and can’t find their usual seasonal work as a result of the pandemic.

But even with the changes, there are still many Canadians who should be able to access the CERB but can’t, according to Macdonald.

Around half a million unemployed Canadians continue to be left out of both EI and the CERB, he said. Those are workers who didn’t qualify for traditional jobless benefits and lost their job before the onset of COVID-19.

Another 1.4 million workers are making less than the $2,000 a month they would receive through CERB but more than $1,000, failing to meet the new income cutoff to qualify for the benefit, Macdonald said.

There are also some 200,000 Canadians who lost their job because of the pandemic but aren’t entitled to CERB because they didn’t earn at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months or during 2019, according to Macdonald.

Nearly 400,000 Canadians are now collecting EI and receiving less than the $2,000 a month they’d be getting with CERB, he estimates.

Finally, some 34,000 Canadians who lost their income due to the novel coronavirus and would be entitled to CERB risk seeing their social assistance clawed back dollar for dollar as a result of receiving the federal emergency benefit, Macdonald warned.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6820922/coronavirus-trudeau-cerb-expanded-pay...

Sean in Ottawa

jerrym wrote:

The Trudeau Liberal government has loosened the rules for its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program but it still leaves a lot of people out of the program. It also doesn't make sense; for example in that 1.4 million part time workers earning between $1,000 and 2,000 a month are not eligible for the $2,000 a month payment. People currently collecting less than $2,000 a month on EI can't get the benefit. 

The CERB will become available to Canadians who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits since Jan. 1, seasonal workers who can’t find work because of COVID-19 and those who earn up to $1,000 a month, the prime minister said.

Ottawa is also planning to work with the provinces and territories to provide financial help to essential workers, such as those employed in long-term care homes, who earn less than $2,500 a month.

The CERB currently provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to Canadians who have lost all of their income because of the health emergency.

The new rules will likely extend CERB eligibility to an estimated 1.1 million Canadians who are still working but saw their hours drastically reduced amid COVID-19, said David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Extending eligibility to Canadians who recently ran out of EI would bring another 55,000 workers into the program, Macdonald estimates.

Ottawa also said it will expand access to the emergency benefit to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits and can’t find their usual seasonal work as a result of the pandemic.

But even with the changes, there are still many Canadians who should be able to access the CERB but can’t, according to Macdonald.

Around half a million unemployed Canadians continue to be left out of both EI and the CERB, he said. Those are workers who didn’t qualify for traditional jobless benefits and lost their job before the onset of COVID-19.

Another 1.4 million workers are making less than the $2,000 a month they would receive through CERB but more than $1,000, failing to meet the new income cutoff to qualify for the benefit, Macdonald said.

There are also some 200,000 Canadians who lost their job because of the pandemic but aren’t entitled to CERB because they didn’t earn at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months or during 2019, according to Macdonald.

Nearly 400,000 Canadians are now collecting EI and receiving less than the $2,000 a month they’d be getting with CERB, he estimates.

Finally, some 34,000 Canadians who lost their income due to the novel coronavirus and would be entitled to CERB risk seeing their social assistance clawed back dollar for dollar as a result of receiving the federal emergency benefit, Macdonald warned.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6820922/coronavirus-trudeau-cerb-expanded-pay...

If you exhausted your benefits before January you remain human refuse. There is no point advocating any more.

Douglas Fir Premier

You can count people on social assistance among those who are being deliberately allowed to fall through the cracks.

We'll see how things play out, but right now I am anticipating that my income will drop from roughly $15,500/year to just over $14,000.

To date, the only relief I've been eligible for was a $290 HST top-up, and a one-time discretionary benefit of $100. Altogether, that would amount to a net loss of more than 7% for the year. At first glance, that might not sound so bad compared to how much some workers' incomes have declined. But then, my starting point was already well below the poverty line. Any decrease - especially as the cost of living is spiking - will be felt deeply.

Misfit Misfit's picture

So is this it? Is the federal government going to abandon people whose EI ran out before Jan 01, 2020 but are still looking for work when jobs are not available due to Covid-19? People aren't buying houses during mandatory isolation. They can't sell their homes. They don't qualify for provincial assistance because they own a home. So who is going to bat for these people? Does the government think that if they include other people bit by bit that they can gleefully leave these people to suffer? Is this how we work as a country?

Where are the MP's and advocates for these people? 

Sean in Ottawa

Misfit wrote:

So is this it? Is the federal government going to abandon people whose EI ran out before Jan 01, 2020 but are still looking for work when jobs are not available due to Covid-19? People aren't buying houses during mandatory isolation. They can't sell their homes. They don't qualify for provincial assistance because they own a home. So who is going to bat for these people? Does the government think that if they include other people bit by bit that they can gleefully leave these people to suffer? Is this how we work as a country?

Where are the MP's and advocates for these people? 

I think there is little chance of anything much more happening for people now. Social media argument is pointless. I tried that. You get shouted down by Liberal partisans for criticizing the government. You have Liberal MPs and the party putting out misinformation -- they say for example that theya re helping anyone making less than $1000. What they mean is the people on CERB can earn up to 1000 but they do not share that detail.  Advocacy is impossible. This is in part the post-Trump world of straight up lying and "fake news." The party with the most trolls (Conservative and Liberal) will scream down anyone else.

The NDP signed on and blew any leverage they have. I also burned up any goodwill from the NDP for not telling them how great they were and asking them to take a stand. Now blocked by Peter Julian. The NDP will run in the next election on UBI. They will say they tried. don't ask for much more now or ever. Singh will drone on "UBI or bust" and be dismissed by everyone who has been covered by CERB.

Expect little more from government. I am sure they will pour as much money into business as they can - this will be most of the announcements. They marked out their target market and we cannot blame them. They ran on an upper-middle class platform and delivered in their first term and anyone who thinks that is not their priority has not been paying attention. They also provide the nicest soothing words you can get from politicians. This the Liberal party are known for. So this is what that looks like. Anyone not in their definition of middle class does not matter until there is an election and they can be bullied into voting Liberal becuase the Conservatives are so bad.

The gaps now are not due to a fast rollout or subject to being fixed. The gaps are intentional.

The government may throw small money at some others to deal with the costs but the grand plan is this.

As for those not covered, some will get jobs on the front line in grocery stores. If you are an older worker then this is the risk you have to take. 

Good news for me -- I got one of these jobs. I will be working in an independent fruit and vegetable store.  If you have nothing better grab one of those jobs while others are still hoping the govenrment will care about them. Once the thousands of people realize government is going to abadon them these jobs will all be gone. For now many think they will get help and others have help so right now some of those stores need people.