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Tom Blackwell, “Social assistance recipients allowed to double-dip on CERB payments, depending on the province they live in,” The National Post, May 26, 2020

The Federal Liberal Government is urging the various Provincial and Territorial Governments to allow CERB recipients, especially unemployed Income Support recipients & Disability Pensioners whose annual work income is $5000 plus to keep both their Emergency Response Benefit and their full Social Assistance benefits…

“Carla Qualtrough, the federal minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion, has urged her provincial counterparts not to “penalize” social assistance recipients who get CERB, but to let the payments “work together,” said government spokeswoman Maya Dura.”

“Ottawa believes CERB should be considered exempt from clawbacks under provincial social assistance programs, said Dura.”

“British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon have taken that approach, allowing people on local social benefits to keep both.”

Unfortunately, the Newfoundland & Labrador Liberal Government is clawing back the CERB payments (GOV.NL.CA: “Public Advisory Information for Income Support Clients Regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, April 9, 2020)

“Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have taken an in-between approach, clawing back part of the CERB payment from social assistance.”
What we need to ask our Premier and our provincial Liberal Government: “Why?”

Now to other CERB related issues. Yes, it is good that the Trudeau Liberal Government is providing assistance to Canadians who are currently receiving the Disability Tax Credit (“Prime Minister announces supports for Canadians with disabilities…,”, June 5, 2020). But Ottawa should not forget those Canadians who receive the Canada Pension Plan Disability Pension and those people who are ineligible for the DTC. Instead of using $88 million towards Federal COVID 19 ads, perhaps the Trudeau Liberals should use that money to help more low and moderate-income Canadians with Disabilities! And, our provincial Liberal Government has to step up to the plate and provide assistance for those Income Support residents with Disabilities.

In essence. Ottawa is helping some Canadians with Disabilities while ignoring the rest during this global coronavirus pandemic. But to be fair to the Trudeau Liberals, it is a good start. even though it was long overdue. Now we need to advocate more so in order for every Canadian and Newfoundlander & Labradorian with Disabilities to receive assistance.

What this COVID 19 pandemic has taught us is that there are gaps in our Social Safety Net and our Canadian Emergency Response Benefits.

After we survive this pandemic, it is my hope that our Federal and Provincial/Territorial Governments implement a Guaranteed Basic Income to all low and moderate-income Canadians!

Submitted by Edward Sawdon – St. John’s, NL

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