PSE student support program: Does it pass the test? 

Key points: At least 1.17 million post secondary education (PSE) students or recent grads will use the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). They wouldn’t have been able to access the CERB. 620,000 PSE students will receive the more generous Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) instead. As the winter term winds…
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Show, don’t tell: Canada’s COVID-19 response doesn’t meet students’ needs or reflect their realities

If you’re a young person in Canada right now, chances are you’re used to the government letting you down. Whether you’re a teenager in Ontario affected by education cuts, a university student looking at climbing tuition and housing costs, or happen to live on the planet that’s being gutted for…
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Gender impact of Canada’s income supports

Key Findings 5.3 million women and 3.4 million men were jobless in April. This is up from 1.7 million women and 1.3 million men in March.  In April, 14% of jobless women and 20% of jobless men had no income supports. As a result, 731,000 jobless women and 681,000 jobless…
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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 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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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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