Comparing provincial economic responses to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of collective responses via governments at all levels. The Canadian context of federalism, with a division of powers between federal and provincial/territorial governments, also highlights key differences in approaches to the pandemic. At its best, federalism is an advantageous arrangement, with the…
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1.4 million jobless Canadians getting no income support in April

Key Findings Who’s in, who’s out: In April there were 1.4 million jobless Canadians without any income support from EI or CERB, up from 895,000 in March. 16% of all jobless Canadians had no support in April, down from 30% in March. The largest group of excluded workers (549,000) lost…
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Extend tax filing deadline to ensure low incomes receive benefits

With the ongoing COVID-19 state of emergency, the federal government should waive the requirement that low-income individuals complete their 2019 tax forms by June 1st to continue to receive benefits—or extend the tax filing deadline for low incomes until much later. Millions of low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities…
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The coronavirus crisis: Wake-up call for an economic paradigm shift¹

This article was originally posted on National Newswatch The Trudeau government recently signed an agreement with Amazon to distribute essential medical supplies across Canada in partnership with publicly owned Canada Post and Purolator. Its dependence on Amazon at time of crisis—a corporation with dangerously unsafe workplaces, and an aggressive anti-union…
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The hidden and not-so-hidden casualty of COVID-19

Since the province has sensibly decided that “professional and social services that support the legal and justice system” are part of the essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have continued to go to my workplace everyday at the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC), which remains open to…
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Mental health, substance use and COVID19: Getting ahead of a perfect storm

What can we expect from the combination of social isolation, sky-high stress, job losses, food and housing insecurity, grief, closures of regular services and supports, access to cannabis and alcohol, and an overwhelmed and preoccupied health care system? A perfect storm for mental health and substance use issues, at a…
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Getting a grip on essential medical supplies

A version of this blog was published as an op ed in the Toronto Star.  Canadians won a reprieve when the Trump administration and 3M, a leading manufacturer of N-95 respirators, struck a deal allowing the company to continue supplying customers in Canada and Latin America. The U.S.-based multinational will…
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Park it: Wi-Fi access is not educational equity

Last week, as Ottawa school boards began to take stock of the number of students without computers and Wi-Fi access, the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) announced that students who didn’t have Wi-Fi at home could access board Wi-Fi in school parking lots. Before focusing on the absurdity of students…
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Long-term funding for domestic violence programs will have lasting impact beyond the pandemic, say experts

COVID-19 has plunged Canada into a state of uncertainty and fear, as people question their ability to pay rent and provide for their families during this crisis. Some vulnerable populations, though, will be forced to live in fear of injury or even death in their own homes. While physical distancing…
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Women bearing the brunt of economic losses: One in five has been laid off or had hours cut

Women are at the forefront of the economic crisis as yesterday’s labour force report from Statistics Canada reveals.   In March, employment among women aged 25 to 54 years fell by 298,500, more than twice the decrease among men. Nearly half of this decrease (144,000) was among women working part-time, many…
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