Jenny in the Community

Immigration Measures for Sikh and Hindu Communities in Afghanistan

April 2, 2020

Sent to: The Honourable Marco Mendicino, P.C., M.P.

The Honourable Francois-Phillipe Champagne, P.C., M.P.


Minister Mendicino and Minister Champagne,

We write to you today to draw attention to the heartbreaking news of a suicide attack on a Sikh Gurdawara (place of worship) in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 25 worshippers in the early morning of March 25, 2020 and injured many others. These young children, women, and elderly innocent worshippers were horrifically attacked while in prayer. The youngest victim was a 3 year old infant. This heinous act was further exacerbated by a subsequent missile attack on the crematorium as family members gathered to hold funerals for their deceased loved ones. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack within hours and has since given the communities 10 days to leave or face extinction. It is clear that Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan are not safe, and continue to face extreme persecution and widespread discrimination.

Safety for Canada Post Employees in the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 2, 2020

Sent to: Hon. Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)


Dear Ministers Anand and Freeland,

I write to bring to your attention concerns from constituents who are postal workers and have written to share their requests regarding Canada Post’s response in the COVID-19 pandemic. During this pandemic, federal public health officials have urged that all employees and workplaces take measures that protect workers from risk of infectious disease and “flatten the curve” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, numerous constituents have been in touch with me to advise of their worries that Canada Post Corporation is not taking sufficient actions to ensure the safety and protections for workers who are performing tasks that continue to be deemed as an essential service in this pandemic.

Workers have brought forward these concerns as they worry that, without immediate implementation of protective and preventative measures, they could be unnecessarily exposed to heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, as well as become at heightened risk of transmitting the disease within their family, their household, and their wider community or to the general public. These concerns cover a range of topics, from communication to employees by Canada Post Corporation, to implementation of appropriate basic safety measures; to the need for personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning protocols, to concerns about current scheduling practices and the risk exposure that could follow from this.


Supporting the Approval of the 2020 Vancouver Art and Culture Grants

March 30, 2020

Sent to: Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Vancouver City Council


To Mayor Stewart and Council,

I am writing with regard to the 2020 Art and Culture Grants, scheduled to come before council for a vote on Tuesday, March 31st. It has come to my attention that there is no assurance that council will support the approval of these grants, which I find alarming, especially now in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic where the art and culture section is already one of the hardest hit sector in our city.  I urge you to unanimously vote to approve the full funding for the 2020 Art and Culture Grants.

As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, I have the honour of representing one of the most artistically and culturally robust ridings in Canada. Artists and cultural workers in my riding have a well-earned reputation for being some of the most creative and progressive in the country, often pushing their genre beyond what was previously thought possible. We in Vancouver East are fiercely proud of the artists and cultural workers in our riding, and the cutting of this grant by any amount will have a devastating impact on this precious but vulnerable sector.


Stop the Garnishing of Tax Credits and Refunds during the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 26, 2020

Sent to: 

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)




Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

Let us begin by acknowledging all of your efforts made during this unprecedented period.  We are writing to request that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) temporarily suspend the practice of garnishing tax credits and tax refunds from individuals.  

​As we move towards putting into place some of the emergency measures to provide financial assistance to the numerous Canadians impacted economically by the COVID-19 pandemic, this CRA policy is preventing ​many Canadians who are struggling financially from fully benefiting from the government's measures during this trying time.   

Unfortunate, it is not uncommon for Canadians to struggle to repay their student loans. Once you’ve missed payment for more than 9 months, the loan is transferred to the CRA for collections. Interests continue to accumulate, even if CRA no longer “actively” take collection action after several years. Once an individual is in this situation, any tax credits and tax refunds an individual may qualify for is automatically garnished and applied to the debt.

Consular Assistance to Canadians Stranded Abroad During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 25, 2020

Sent to:

Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)




I am very appreciative of the continued information updates and advice from Global Affairs Canada about their efforts in assisting Canadians who are stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I have been dealing with a large number of constituents and their loved ones who are making every good faith effort to heed the Prime Minister’s advice for Canadians to come home, and who require consular assistance and, in some cases, have made urgent requests for rescue flights or assistance in repatriating.  As this work continues, I write to bring to your attention concerns that constituents with their direct experience abroad with during this difficult time.

1)  Email from ROCA

I have heard from constituents who have been making every effort to communicate with officials, who are registered as advised with the Registry Of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) in order to receive updates about how to ​get home, and who have reported some worrying information about the communication that they receive. In one case, a constituent sent a screenshot of the communication that they received from ROCA about upcoming flights exiting Peru. The email they received thru ROCA said, in part:

“The purpose of this message is to inform you that the Embassy of Canada in Peru has coordinated with Air Canada the first three return flights to Canada:

  1. Tuesday March 24 (now sold out)
  2. Thursday March 25 (not available for purchase yet)
  3. Friday March 26 (not available for purchase yet)

The Embassy and its partners are currently working on arrangements for the Thursday and Friday flights. The flight details and the registration code will be shared by the Embassy through an email. Receiving this code does not guarantee you a seat on the flight.”

Constituents have reported that this kind of message is anything but reassuring.  As one constituent said, “It seems really scary, like they know how many Canadians are there, but only sent a smaller amount of planes and are going to let them basically compete over buying [scarce] tickets and if they don’t get one tough luck!”  He went on to write "I hope I am wrong about that."

Others have reported that they have not be able to get onto the system as it is overwhelmed as soon as the code is made available.  And by the time they manage to get through, the tickets are sold out. I understand that officials are working hard to make arrangements for people stranded abroad.  Given that people who have registered through the ROCA system, it follows that the government would be aware of approximately how many people are stranded in which country.  Aside from need to address the technical aspect of the system, would it not make sense to, in the minimum, add a line to indicate that additional flights are being worked on beyond what is listed to assure the people who are not lucky enough to secure a ticket are not forgotten?

We Need A Nationwide Rent Freeze And Guaranteed Income

March 24, 2020

Sent to: 

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Open Letter – RE: Nationwide Rent Freeze and Guaranteed Income to Protect Canadians needed before Rent Day

Dear Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Hussen,

As we approach the end of the month in 6 days, rent and mortgage payments will be due for renters and homeowners across Canada. While a number of economic measures have been announced, they will not be enough to protect Canadians from losing their housing during these difficult times. The increase in GSTC and CCB payments won’t be received until May, and application for the Emergency Care Benefit doesn’t open until April. There are many others who don’t equality for these measures but have suffered debilitating income loss during the pandemic, including but not limited to small business owners, and gig, freelance, contract workers, artists and people in the film industry during the crisis. For people on fixed incomes, such as seniors and people on disability pensions and benefits, the decrease in accessibility to community programming mean that living costs are increasing.

While the E.I. program and other credit measures have been expanded, the reality remains that the payments will not come in time to meet the immediate needs of Canadians.  As well, many Canadians, including seniors and people on disability benefits, may not be eligible for the measures. 

It is also important to note also that as people scramble to apply for the many different programs, the capacity for our system to process the many applications will be exceeded.  For many low and modest income earners who were just getting by, the partial income replacement is not enough to cover basic costs. As rent day draws near, more and more constituents are reaching out to me and telling me that they have to make the impossible choice between rent, utilities, medication and food. This situation is the same across Canada, as people face uncertainty and are looking to the government to provide help and guidance during this very difficult time.

Complicating the issue is that tenancy laws are different province to province. Some provinces have enacted moratoriums on evictions while others have not. Even in jurisdictions where there is an eviction moratorium in place, renters and homeowners alike are concerned about being hit with a lump sum bill with all deferred payments, accrued interests and late charges once the moratorium is lifted.

As you know, Canada was already experiencing a housing crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic. The added challenges and vulnerability faced by Canadians is exacerbating already existing issues, such as tenants facing renovictions and demovictions. Imagine being a vulnerable, low/modest income earner who is facing a loss of income during this time and having to navigate looking for a home at the same time!

Homeowners are also receiving mixed responses from their banks about the possibility of deferring mortgage payments, with some banks providing a deferral but not alleviating interest charges, while others are evaluating requests for mortgage deferral on a “case-by-case basis”. Some homeowners do not know if they will qualify at all for mortgage deferral, and they have not been able to contact their banks with all the phone lines being busy.

All the aforementioned factors leave too much uncertainty and too much vulnerability for Canadians across the country. To protect Canadians from losing their homes, the government must step in now, before rent day, and take action to enact a nation-wide rent-freeze, eviction freeze, mortgage-freeze, and utilities-freeze.  
As aforementioned, Canadians are being financially impacted by this pandemic in many ways, including job loss, income loss, increased costs of acquiring basic necessities like food, and others. The people in Canada urgently need a nationwide freeze on rent, mortgage, evictions and utility payment.  To ensure that no one is left behind, we need to put in place a guaranteed income for all during the pandemic.​

The NDP is calling for the government to cut the administrative burden by providing direct assistance to everyone in Canada in the form of a monthly guaranteed income of $2000 a month, with an addition of $250 per child right away until the pandemic is over.

As rent day is due for Canadians in a few days, it is crucial that we act now.


Jenny Kwan

Member of Parliament for Vancouver East

NDP Critic for Housing



The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos

The Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains

The Hon. William Sterling Blair

The Hon. Patricia Hajdu

The Hon. Mélanie Joly

The Hon. William Francis Morneau

The Hon. Carla Qualtrough

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan



COVID-19 Resources and Support for Van East NGOs

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair
Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

March 23, 2020

Open Letter: Resources and Support Needed for Vancouver East Non-Profits

To Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

I am writing with regards to an urgent need for direction and resources for non-profit organizations in my riding, some of whom have reached out to my office directly expressing dire needs. As you may know, Vancouver East is home to one of the highest number of non-profit organizations per capita of any ridings in Canada. Many of these non-profits provide essential services that have enormous health impacts for the community. Some of these services include, but are not limited to, housing provision, food security, home support services, overdose prevention, mental health support, urban Indigenous programs and services, seniors’ and youth services, support for victims of domestic violence and abuse, and others.

Because of the importance of these services to the community members who count on them, many of these organizations are continuing to deliver these essential services despite the pandemic and the risks and challenges involved. In fact, many are trying to step up services, such as offering grocery deliveries for seniors isolated at home, to meet the emerging needs of the community. In order to do so, many of these organizations need urgent support and resources from the government, and it is vital that we step up to meet their efforts.

National Response Needed to Protect Canadians from Losing Housing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many constituents have written to me with very urgent concerns and requests about keeping safely and stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people in Canada are facing a debilitating loss of income during COVID-19, and those who already were facing financial stability or who were already at risk of becoming homeless even prior to the emergence of this pandemic are experiencing heightened fear and anxiety. I have even heard from constituents who have received a notice of rent increase who are extremely distressed.

Given these factors, and the existing crisis in homelessness in our community and across the country: We need to immediately house homeless persons. We must prevent any increase in people becoming homeless. I am calling on all levels of government as they must work together for a national approach to protect Canadians.

To protect renters, we need a nation wide moratorium on all evictions, and a temporary rent freeze period to protect renters during this precarious time.

For landlords who face trouble paying their mortgage or who aren’t able to collect rents, Canada’s big banks and VanCity Credit Union have offered mortgage deferral payments for up to six months. The federal government needs to ensure that the banks make good on this commitment.

Below is the text of the open letter that I sent on March 21 to bring these urgent issues and calls to the federal government, and to urge that they work with all levels of government for a national approach to making sure that – especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic - everyone has a safe place to call home.

COVID-19 Measures for Migrant Workers in Canada

March 17, 2020

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair
Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Open Letter re: COVID-19 Pandemic Measures for Migrant Workers in Canada

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

This letter is regarding the treatment of Migrant Workers in Canada, and the need for action to protect their well-being with respect to COVID-19. In only a few short months, the COVID-19 virus has thrown the world into crisis by putting pressures on communities, families, workers, national economies and their health and social security systems. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Given the severity of the crisis, the government must be prepared to establish clear steps to halt the spread of this disease and address the urgent concerns of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).

The uncertainty of this virus impacts everyone; however, it disproportionately impacts TFWs, many of whom are in precarious positions and lack access to essential services. All workers must be treated equally and there must be a line of communication directly to these workers on how they can stay safe. Without proper protections in place for Migrant Workers, the Government is directly nurturing the conditions that make the spread of the virus more difficult to stop.

URGENT COVID-19 resources needed in DTES

March 19, 2020

Sent to:

The Honourable Patricia Hajdu, MP Minister of Health
The Honourable Adrian Dix, MLA Minister of Health
DTES COVID-19 Task Force

Open Letter re: URGENT - COVID-19 Response and Resources needed for the DTES

Dear Minister Hajdu, Minister Dix, and the City of Vancouver DTES COVID-19 Task Force,

Let me begin by acknowledging all of your efforts during this unprecedented period. As we all work to ensure vulnerable communities are provided the necessary support during this health emergency, I am writing with urgency with regard to the immediate need for a coordinated response and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the opioid crisis which has not abated. The situation in the Downtown Eastside is dire and we must act now to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in this extremely vulnerable community.

The Downtown Eastside is home to some of the most vulnerable people in Canada, including people who are homeless, inadequately housed, struggling with mental health challenges and managing addictions. The living conditions of the population mean that many actions that could help prevent the spread of the virus, such as self-isolation and aggressive hygiene practices, are not available to the community members. As such, once the virus touches down on the community, we know that the effect will be severe and devasting. It is therefore absolutely vital that we take steps now to prevent an outbreak in the community as well as to be prepared for what is to come.

Open Letter on Accessibility of BDC Funding for Small Businesses

March 19, 2020

Sent to:
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair
Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Open Letter re: Accessibility of Business of Development Bank of Canada Funding

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

This letter is regarding the accessibility of the recently announced Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) funding to support business owners who have currently closed their businesses due to the COVID-19 virus, specifically those in the food and beverage sector. This is understandably an incredibly difficult time for many businesses, who are complying with government recommendations to close their doors to ensure that adequate social distancing is maintained to prevent further spread of this virus. This loss of business has created obvious financial and emotional stress for business owners and they are in desperate need of the Governments support.

The Government announced on Friday, March 13th that an additional $10 Billion of funding will be provided through BDC and Export Development Canada (EDC). This is commendable action from the government, and an important step in protecting the well-being and financial security of business owners. However, the accessibility of this funding is limited in scope. Particularly, businesses in the food and beverage section are having a difficult time in meeting the current requirements for this funding. As it stands, businesses are prohibited from applying if their historic liquor sales represent more than 50% of the business actual sales. For many restaurants, this is not surprisingly the case. In MP Kwan’s riding of Vancouver East there have been cases of 10 + restaurants that are currently facing this barrier when applying for the BDC funding, and there are likely many more across the country. This leaves these business owners in a state of insecurity, and unsure where they are supposed to turn for assistance. These businesses all expect and are eager to re-open when the spread of the COVID-19 virus is under control, but until then they need more concrete support from the Government.

Federal General Election - October 21, 2019

As of September 11, 2019, Canada Elections act, Parliament was dissolved and a Writ of Election was issued for a general federal election.

Election Day has been set as Monday, October 21, 2019.

If you have questions about the general election, or if you need to register to vote, please visit the Elections Canada website at: or telephone Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.

During the election period, the riding office will remain staffed, on reduced hours:

Monday                         11 am – 3 pm

Tuesday                         11 am – 3 pm

Wednesday                   11 am – 3 pm

Friday                             11 am – 3 pm

Constituents of Vancouver East who face very urgent cases or requests for emergency assistance with a federal service or program will still receive priority reply by staff. Please ensure your email message includes your full name, phone number, street address, and postal code.

You may also call the Vancouver East riding office at 604-775-5800 with urgent inquiries, or email to [email protected] as this email account will be monitored throughout the election writ period.

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