April 16, 2020
Sent to: Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
OPEN LETTER: ASSISTANCE FOR SINGLE PARENTS FOR WHOSE SPOUSAL AND CHILD PAYMENTS ARE INTERRUPTED DUE TO COVID-19
Ministers Freeland, Qualtrough and Morneau,
The implications of Covid-19 has been far-reaching. As people continue to struggle in the face of this unprecedented pandemic, the need for government assistance is more urgent than ever. We recognize that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides some relief to individuals in need but, it remains that there are many who are left behind. We are glad to see some of the changes we advocated for to close the gaps were adopted over the past weekend, however, still many people do not qualify for assistance.
Based on the current eligibility rules for CERB, it would appear that single parents who are no longer receiving vital spousal or child support payments due to their ex-partners' income being affected by COVID-19 are not eligible.
Understandably, changes in an individual’s financial circumstances have been magnified during this time. This extends to ex-partners no longer having the income to make their spousal and child support payments, and in effect many single parents are suddenly left scrambling as their income has been severely reduced. Currently, child and spousal support does not qualify as income for the purposes of Employment Insurance (EI), nor as revenue for the purpose of qualifying for CERB.