Canada's NDP


April 1st, 2020

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit Must Be Extended to Students

While the E.I. program and other credit measures have been expanded, the reality remains that these programs overlook young Canadians and students. That is why I have written to the government to expand these programs to make sure no one falls between the cracks. That is why I have written to the government asking them to take immediate action.

March 30, 2020

Open Letter – RE: Confirmation of Emergency Benefit Program for Youth

Dear Minister Chagger and Minister Qualtrough,

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many Canadians and it is incumbent on us as Members of Parliament to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks. Government programs must address the realities in our many diverse communities and with the continued spread of COVID-19 and the rapid introduction of new programs, the government must be mindful not to overlook anyone. While the E.I. program and other credit measures have been expanded, the reality remains that these programs could overlook young Canadians.

As you know, many students earn a great deal of the money they need for next year’s tuition and living expenses during the spring and summer months. This employment is at risk as so many of our small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations in industries such as tourism, retail and hospitality, who are the main employers for these young people, will be unable to afford to hire many summer students due to the COVID-19 related financial strain they have suffered.

New Democrats are calling for a more universal and less administratively complicated approach to financial support during the crisis. It is my hope that you would expand the Emergency Benefit program to include a universal basic income program. Many students in Post-Secondary Education are left out of the Emergency Benefit programs announced by your government. I recognize the effort to suspend the interest on Federal student loans, an initiative that should be made permanent, but this doesn’t address how many graduating students will gain employment and an income. With the suspension and cancelation of classes and programs, students are uncertain about what the future holds for them. Combined with the patchwork of government programs, many of which don’t apply to young people, they feel that they are being overlooked. I am asking that your department review the programs announced and see how they can be expanded and fixed to apply to the thousands of Post-Secondary students who need these supports.

These issues need your immediate attention. As the Minister for Inclusion, Diversity and Youth, it is necessary that you be the voice for those who are often forgotten, especially when it comes to the creation and expansion of government programs. I eagerly await your response.

Lindsay Mathyssen
Member of Parliament for London—Fanshawe
NDP Critic for Inclusion Diversity and Youth, and Post Secondary Education