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NDP 2022: pushing for economic stability & health equity

GIS & Child Benefit clawback reversals | Economic safety net | Protecting public health care

Monday January 31, 2022 | NATIONAL

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends


The 44th Parliamentary Session is back in 2022, starting today in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

This morning NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed media by Zoom, including two aspects of income stability for Canadians and the equity of the health-care system.

jagmeet singh, Dec 2021
GIS and Child Benefit clawbacks should be reversed immediately, said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in a press session Dec 8, 2021.

Now that pandemic-specific income supports are mostly phased out, the NDP leader says his MPs will continue their party’s direction to helping achieve guaranteed livable income in Canada. He points out that the Employment Insurance (EI) system serves some workers but many others are not underpinned by that economic social safety net.

GIS & Child Benefit clawback:

Low-income seniors who lost their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) starting July 2021 for having taken CERB/CRB income supports in 2020 are still without compensation or reversal of the decision on their personal income tax file. [See archive of GIS clawback articles below this article]

Singh today said his party has seen some progress (the Seniors Minister was asked in her mandate letter to sort it out) but the approximately 88,000 seniors who’ve been impacted by the clawback have yet to see a single penny.

seniors, finance
Many seniors who collected CERB have been forced to live without their Guaranteed Income Supplement since July 2021 for having taken CERB benefits in 2020.

Many low-income families who were received the Canada Child Benefit prior to 2020 have also had that benefit clawed back since July 2021, for having taken pandemic support benefits in 2020.

These scenarios do not demonstrate a consistent political approach by the federal government to supporting Canadians through the pandemic. It does demonstrate what seems like a deliberate attempt to steer the country toward the pandemic being over, which clearly it is not.

randall garrison

Traditional measures like employment rates seem to give the government room to pull back on supports, but with eyes wide open anyone can see that the economic impacts of the pandemic continue — the clawback of GIS and Child Benefit supports strangely being among them.

Health care safety net:

Other areas of economic stability for Canadians include access to health care, dental care and medications.

Singh today reiterated his party’s commitment to health care for all (not a two-tiered system that would happen if privatized health care edges its way into the Canadian health care system), a dental care program to support low-income Canadians, and a Pharmacare system (that he realizes “is a big idea and will take time”) but that first steps can be taken.

horgan, chair, cof
BC Premier John Horgan chairs the Council of the Federation (premiers from all provinces and territories).

The Council of the Federation (Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers) will next be meeting with the Prime Minister this coming Friday, February 4. The key topic for discussion is the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) which has been sorely underfunded for years. One of the reasons for the fragility of the health-care system during the pandemic is that the system was already in financial distress before the pandemic hit.

monk office

BC Premier John Horgan chairs the Council of the Federation. BC already has a Pharmacare system, and arguably performed among the best of the provinces in its approach to protecting its population during the first phases of the COVID pandemic.

Horgan and the other premiers have been pushing for an increase to the Canada Health Transfer in the past year, and Trudeau’s response has been agreeable but not until the pandemic is over.

The pandemic is clearly not over (even though federal economic benefit policies would seem to indicate only narrowly-targeted sector-specific pandemic urgency). Today NDP Leader Singh said there is no time to wait, that the transfer of federal funds for health-care should increase to the provinces and territories right away.

===== RELATED:

GIS clawback still on NDP radar, want one-time emergency payment for impacted seniors (January 21, 2022)

When does the GIS clawback repayment come? (January 12, 2022)

Trudeau & Horgan: Omicron, Canada Health Transfer, disaster response (January 4, 2022)

Federal grind on low-income seniors & families continues in new year (January 3, 2022)

New Year’s weekend letters from seniors about GIS clawback (January 3, 2022)

New Year’s Message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (December 31, 2021)

Huge letdown for low-income seniors as GIS clawback repayment promise drags on (December 16, 2021)

NDP: GIS clawback must end before Xmas (December 13, 2021)

Canada Health Transfer top of mind for Premier Horgan into 2022 (December 12, 2022)

NDP: GIS & CCB clawbacks could be repaid immediately in full (December 8, 2021)

LETTER: GIS clawback could lead to homelessness & worse (December 2, 2021)

dumont tirecraft, winter season

===== ARCHIVE of GIS LETTERS & ARTICLES:

subscribers welcome 2022

Liberals again acknowledge GIS clawback issue as NDP keeps pushing (November 30, 2021)

NDP calls for emergency debate around low-income family & seniors clawbacks (November 24, 2021)

NDP rolls into 44th Parliament with priorities to help people (November 22, 2021)

Restoring GIS & Canada Child Benefit important for low-income islanders (November 18, 2021)

LETTER: Losing GIS means needing help to pay the rent (November 17, 2021)

44th parliament: NDP to take on housing, GIS & CERB amnesty within affordability, also climate crisis (November 9, 2021)

Seniors Minister weighs in on what NDP calls GIS clawback (November 8, 2021)

NDP requests immediate government action to reverse GIS clawback (November 3, 2021)

LETTER: senior faces potential eviction due to GIS clawback (Oct 27, 2021)

LETTER: GIS clawback continues after election (October 19, 2021)

LETTER: GIS clawback means food vs rent (September 19, 2021)

NDP candidate mojo: we fight for you (September 19, 2021)

LETTER: GIS clawback means no bus pass (September 13, 2021)

LETTER: Hurting seniors with GIS clawback (September 5, 2021)

LETTER: Retired & depending on GIS (August 19, 2021)

LETTER: Suddenly losing Guaranteed Income Supplement by receiving CERB (August 10, 2021)

LETTER: Seniors suddenly losing Guaranteed Income Supplement if they took CERB (August 7, 2021)

Seniors who took CERB now losing GIS supplement & other benefits (August 4, 2021)

===== ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends as published daily at islandsocialtrends.ca.

Mary has been covering politics and socioeconomic issues since 2008 on south Vancouver Island (previously as West Shore Voice News, and before that as both Sooke Voice News and MapleLine Magazine).

Ms Brooke has been following the GIS clawback issue in detail since the summer of 2021.