COVID-19: People on social assistance given up by government
“We no longer know what to answer to all those often desperate people who contact us every day and seek whom to turn to for some help,” said the spokesperson for the Common Front of People on Social Assistance in Quebec (FCPASQ), Irina Gueorguiev. Most people face additional expenses. You just have to think about the price of certain foodstuffs which has increased, and the economical format, private label or bulk products which are less available due to the higher demand. ”
“Also, because of government directives, it is more difficult to count on the support of loved ones or to work a little to earn part of the $ 200 monthly allowable. Not to mention that community resources working with people experiencing poverty are more in demand than ever and that some are even closed. ”
“When there is no financial leeway, as is the case for people on social assistance, any unforeseen event is a source of stress and can have serious health impacts. And we must not forget the psychological distress experienced by people when they are ignored by the government and face more, now more than ever, violent prejudices. Once again, it is their very right to live in dignity that is flouted. ”
A minister who does not fulfill his responsibilities
The spokesperson for the Collective for a Quebec without poverty, Serge Petitclerc, specifies that a single person with severe constraints to employment receives $ 1,088 per month while a person judged without constraints receives $ 690 per month, barely enough to cover half of basic needs. “These amounts are insufficient to live well in Quebec in normal times. Imagine in times of crisis! It’s not without reason that the Canadian government fixed the Canada Emergency Benefit at $ 2,000 per month, an amount that many consider insufficient. ”
“From the start of the crisis, we alerted the Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet. He is fully aware of the situation. Yet he stubbornly refuses to provide emergency assistance to people on social assistance. It is as if he had decided to abandon the most underprivileged in society. He seems to have forgotten his responsibilities as Minister of Social Solidarity to focus only on the labor and employment sectors. ”
Urgent help is needed
Since the start of the crisis, the FCPASQ has requested that the Government of Quebec make a minimum commitment to provide all last-resort assistance recipients with a special benefit to bring the amount of their monthly benefit to $ 1,210, i.e. equivalent to the amount of the Basic Income Program. In addition, the solidarity tax credit must be improved as soon as possible. This improvement should be calculated at a minimum according to the scales of increase in the goods and services tax (GST) credit paid by the federal government.
For its part, the Collective for a Quebec Without Poverty has been asking for emergency aid since March 27 for people on social assistance but also for all those who are not eligible for assistance programs recently set up by Canadian governments. and Quebecois. The three opposition parties and some 30 national organizations supported his call for emergency aid using the solidarity tax credit.