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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

What kind of return to normal do we want?

In a column published on the IRIS blog (and translated for Behind the Numbers), Guillaume Hébert says that the COVID-19 crisis marks a point of no return on a global scale that could definitively change “our relationship to the community, to public services, to governments, to supply chains, to borders and…
Read more

Which unemployed Canadians will get support?

New federal policies are being created and adapted daily to try and head off the worst-case economic impacts of COVID-19. Many of those modifications are in reaction to advocates pointing out pitfalls in the proposed design of emergency measures. As these programs unfold, I’ve been tracking how well they cover…
Read more

Struggling homeowners not your typical landlord: The case for rent forgiveness 

In the age of COVID-19, where the unemployment rate is now estimated at 13.5% and many are struggling to pay next month’s rent, the necessity of suspending evictions, providing income supports for low-income households, and having a serious conversation about rent forgiveness couldn’t be clearer. A number of government measures…
Read more

Much stronger conditions needed on federal wage subsidy program

The federal government has announced it is prepared to pay wages subsidies of up to 75% of employee wages for all private businesses and other employers, including non-profits, partnerships and charities that expect a 30% drop in revenues, up to a maximum of $847/worker per week and $11,011 over the…
Read more

Unemployment may hit 70-year high, but new EI replacement will help

Yesterday, in response to the impact of COVID-19 on workers, the federal government announced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which replaces the short-lived Emergency Care Benefit  and almost completely replaces Employment Insurance with a flat $2,000 a month payment ($462 a week). The CERB is available to anyone…
Read more