Canadian Press: Budget 2023: Liberals follow through on big promises in deal with NDP
Canadian Press: Budget 2023: Liberals follow through on big promises in deal with NDP
New Democrats have agreed to prop up the minority government on key votes, including budgets, until June 2025 in exchange for movement on shared priorities.
Here are the key NDP-approved initiatives that were penned into the agreement and made it into this year's budget:
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister - Stop the garnishing of tax credits and refunds during the pandemic
Emergency funds like the increased GTSC and the Emergency Care Benefit are intended to help those who are financially hit the hardest and are most vulnerable during the pandemic, in addition to providing a boost to the economy. If the benefits are garnished and returned to the government, it would defeat the intended purpose. For these reasons, we are requesting that the garnishing of tax credits and tax refunds to repay student loan debts be suspended so individuals can fully benefit from the emergency financial measures that have been put in place during these trying times.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Minister on request for CRA to temporarily suspend garnishing tax credits and tax refunds from individuals
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.
One of the emergency measures to support low and modest income earners during the pandemic is an increase in the Goods and Service Tax Credit (GSTC) this year, doubling the maximum GSTC amount, providing an average boost of $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. While this measure will bring much needed relief to those who qualify, we are concerned that this tax credit will not reach those whose student loans are in default and in collections. We have similar concerns for the Emergency Care Benefit, which will also be administered through the CRA.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on nationalwide rent freeze and guaranteed income to protect Canadians needed before rent day
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.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister - Resources and support needed for Van East NGO
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.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
To protect renters, it is essential a nation wide moratorium on all evictions is in place during the pandemic. As well, a temporary rent freeze period also needs to be imposed to protect renters from price- gauging during these precarious times. Already, I have constituents who have just received a rent increase notice and are extremely distressed by prospect of having to find alternate housing at this time.
Aside from putting in place a national moratorium on evictions and rent increases, some housing advocates are also calling for residential tenancy branch hearing be delayed at this time. In addition, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation should also immediately provide a pool of capital to existing or new rent banks across the country so that those who can’t make the rent because of falling incomes or illness don’t lose their housing.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Ministe and Housing Minister for nationalwide rent freeze and guaranteed income to protect Canadians
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.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister on clarification on various COVID-19 border measures
As you can see, this statement is considerably different from the information on the government's website and OIC. Needless to say, this has created much confusion in the public realm which in turn has created additional anxiety and frustration for people already in a stressful situation. Moreover, this has made it difficult for Members of Parliament and our offices to provide information and assistance to those in need. It is therefore vital that clear and accurate information is made available on this critical question as there are many people who are being impacted by this policy.
I can provide an example of a case in my riding. Currently in Vancouver East, a TFW who had been working full-time in Canada since 2018 had travelled out of the country for a short period of time and now finds she is unable to return to Canada due to the travel restriction. She has not been able to get information on what exceptions, if any, are made for temporary foreign workers seeking to return to Canada to resume their employment.
OPEN LETTER to Federal, BC Health Minister and Vancouver DTES COVID-19 Task Force - Urgent COVID-19 response and resources needed for the DTES
OPEN LETTER to the Prime Minister on getting financial aid to Canadians as quickly as possible
The announcements made yesterday to bring in new programs for those who don’t qualify for EI benefits - the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support benefit - are welcome news. I am sure that you, like me, have heard from many Canadians who do not have access to EI and are facing an uncertain future.
Similarly, steps to increase the GST Credit and the Canada Child Benefit, are also important measures to get necessary help to Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet.
I am alarmed at the news that many Canadians will not receive this additional help until April or May. For many Canadians, this will result in a lack of income for over a month.
Canadians cannot wait a moment longer for help. This is why I am committing to you that New Democrats will provide the necessary votes to pass these measures in Parliament.
OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister on accesibility of Business of Development Bank of Canada funding
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.