The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the many gaps that exist in Canada’s social security, emergency response, healthcare, and supports for small businesses in times of crisis. Over the course of the pandemic, I have heard countless stories of how individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and communities have struggled with the hardships of the pandemic, and how they have fallen through the cracks of the government’s patchwork responses. 

By listening to the stories of constituents and organizations in Vancouver East, I have been advocating for better and more comprehensive pandemic supports for struggling individuals, families, and businesses. Going forward, I will continue to bring the voices and needs of the community to parliament so that no one is left behind. 

OPEN LETTER to BC Minister of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Chair

OPEN LETTER to BC Minister of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Chair

It is wonderful that some of the seniors may be able to book an appointment with the help of family, friends, or support workers; sadly, there are those who unfortunately do not have access to such a support network I have heard from some of the elderly seniors in Vancouver East who are concerned that they will have difficulty in registering for the vaccine due to language barriers.
To help facilitate access to this potentially life-saving immunization for vulnerable people, especially for the elderly where language and mobility is an issue, I would like to offer two suggestions for your consideration.

OPEN LETTER to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

OPEN LETTER to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

I am writing you today to request that your office undertake to address the delays and technical errors that my constituents are experiencing with the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), and the new temporary changes to Employment Insurance (EI).
I have heard from two different constituents who received the same error message, COV-26, while attempting to apply for the CRB. The error apparently appears because CRA deems that the applicants have an active EI claim within the last 52 weeks which prevents them from accessing the CRB. However, both my constituents have not received any EI benefits in the last 52 weeks. They applied for EI when the pandemic first started and were transitioned to CERB as that was the policy in place.

JOINT OPEN LETTER - MP Kwan, MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy joint letter to the federal housing minister addressing Vancuver homelessness crisis

JOINT OPEN LETTER - MP Kwan, MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy joint letter to the federal housing minister addressing Vancuver homelessness crisis

We have been facing a homelessness crisis in Vancouver for many years. The number of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver more than tripled from 2002 to 2017. Since then, substantial investments in housing from the Province and the City have managed to stop those runaway increases, but the situation remains a crisis, especially with the added pressures of COVID-19. According to the preliminary data report from the 2020 homeless count in Metro Vancouver, 2,095 individuals were identified as homeless in the City of Vancouver, with 547 individuals completely unsheltered, and 105 people residing in emergency response shelters who would otherwise be unsheltered.
As your government has recognized in your Reaching Home strategy, homelessness has devastating impacts on the individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as the economic and social well-being of communities. And, like your government, we are committed to helping those who are homeless and share your belief that one homeless Canadian is one too many. However, it must be recognized the existing timeline and resources under the National Housing Strategy are deficient in meeting the urgent housing and homelessness crisis in our community.
Furthermore, in the midst of a global pandemic, the first public health directive issued by all levels of governments – and by governments worldwide – was for people to stay home, stay distanced, and practice aggressive hygiene measures. This is impossible for people who are homeless.

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on delays in processing for family and spousal sponsorships

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on delays in processing for family and spousal sponsorships

Could you please advise specifically innovation actions has been taken or are being planned, what budget and resources have been allocated within IRCC to employ these “innovative solutions” and what is the timetable for the implementation of these measures.
Finally, some of the individuals who are in the midst of the spousal sponsorship process have written me with their concerns that their letters or emails to the Minister, or even their participation in petition or social media campaigns to raise public awareness of the difficulties that they face are allegedly being logged as notes in IRCC’s Global Case Management System (GCMS). As one writer noted, “Our right to advocate peacefully is guaranteed by the Canadian constitution. Should these notes be held against spousal sponsorship applicants, or in any way hinder their application process, this would represent a serious and fundamental breach of our constitutional rights.” Could you please verify whether these correspondences or other communications are being logged in the GCMS, and if so for what reason. 

OPEN LETTER to housing minister on cost-sharing plan with BC provincial and municipal government urgently needed to address homelessness crisis

OPEN LETTER to housing minister on cost-sharing plan with BC provincial and municipal government urgently needed to address homelessness crisis

The homelessness crisis is not only an affront to human rights, but also poses an enormous national public health risk. This puts the individuals and the communities they live in at risk. Despite the undisputable importance of housing, I am deeply concerned that your government’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is woefully inadequate.
Based on the response to my order paper question submitted February 4th, 2020, it seems the largest component of the NHS, the National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF), has fallen short of expectations. I was shocked to learn that only 23 of 432 of submissions have finalized funding agreements. Even more troubling was the lack of funding outside of Ontario. Among these applications, over 50% of the finalized agreements were from Ontario and over 91% of the $1.47 billion in these agreements went to a single application in the City of Toronto.
Only 2 applications were finalized in British Columbia, which represents 0.05% of these funds. To say the least, this fails to recognize the housing crisis that has impacted Vancouver and communities in my riding particularly hard.

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister - Follow-up on immigration measures for Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister - Follow-up on immigration measures for Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan

As noted by the WSO, on March 25, 2020, ISIS-K terrorists attacked Gurdwara Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and murdered 25 Sikhs, including four-year-old Tania Kaur. At the funeral for the victims of this attack, a second attack was initiated involving the detonation of an explosive device. Earlier, in July 2018, the senior leadership of the Sikh and Afghan communities was assassinated in a suicide bombing that took 19 lives in Jalalabad. In June 2020, an Afghan Sikh, Nidan Singh Sachdeva, was abducted from a gurdwara and tortured for weeks. That was followed on July 17 by the abduction of 13-year-old Salmeet Kaur who was kidnapped from a Kabul gurdwara where she was living with her blind mother and younger brother. Salmeet’s father was killed in the March attack. ISIS-K has sworn to exterminate all Afghan Sikhs and Hindus if they do not leave Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Sikh and Hindu communities face a threat to their very existence. The minority communities which once numbered over 200,000 have now dwindled to less than 800, due to decades of persecution. Only those families remain that do not have the means to relocate elsewhere. The majority of the community is forced to reside in gurdwaras and face discrimination in accessing education, employment and housing. As ISIS-K continues to attack civilians and international troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, Sikhs and Hindus are likely to face more violence.

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on long processing delay

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on long processing delay

I am writing to you to echo the concerns I’ve been hearing from families who are experiencing long delays for spousal sponsorship applications and urge for your government to adjust the program to allow conditions for spouses to obtain temporary resident visas as part of the spousal sponsorship application process.
Immigration is an exercise in nation building, and I have always seen family reunification as a pivotal component of Canada’s immigration system. During the last 5 years as the NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I have heard far too many heart wrenching stories of how families are kept apart due to long delays in processing. Indeed, the issue of long delays in processing for permanent residence applications is a longstanding one and I share the concerns experienced by families who remain separated while they wait on the spousal sponsorship application process, which has worsened under COVID-19.

OPEN LETTER to Deupty Prime Minister and Finance Minister on federal emergency funding needed to save historic Chinatown

OPEN LETTER to Deupty Prime Minister and Finance Minister on federal emergency funding needed to save historic Chinatown

Your government has been made aware of the dire situation for businesses in Vancouver since the start of the pandemic. As you are aware, a recent announcement was made for Granville Island in Vancouver, a site owned by the federal government, where a special provision is made and $17 million is made available to provide rent relief for the merchants, theatres and artisans for a full year. While I support and appreciate the Federal government’s action in support of Granville Island, I would like to emphasize that historic Chinatown is in need of special consideration from your government. The significance of Vancouver’s Chinatown, a national historic site, is undeniably valuable to our city, our province and indeed our country.
Even before the pandemic occurred, Chinatown was already in a delicate state. The neighbourhood was ranked number three on the Heritage Vancouver Society’s top 10 watch list of endangered sites in Vancouver in 2018 and listed as the top 10 endangered places of the National Trust for Canada in 2016. In fact, ongoing gentrification and immense pressure from developers have already been impacting Chinatown’s rich cultural essence. The loss of small business merchants would only increase the risk of Chinatown losing its unique urban cultural characteristics.

OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Employment on continued support for new mothers, new parents and infants

OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Employment on continued support for new mothers, new parents and infants

We have previously raised concerns in letters to you, in Committee and in technical briefings about the financial difficulty faced by new parents who have fallen through the gaps between both EI maternity/parental leave and the CERB. We are still hearing from new parents about the many reasons that they struggle to meet their basic needs in this pandemic:

• Expectant and new parents who lost work as a result of COVID-19, and are no longer able to accrue the hours needed to qualify for EI maternity or parental benefits, have therefore been left without the source of income they were counting on during maternity or parental leave. While CERB may assist some of these families for up to 16 weeks, this is no replacement for the 12 to 18 month support provided by EI maternity benefits.
OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to address migrant workers’ bad treatment

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to address migrant workers’ bad treatment

We urge you to instruct your respective departments to immediately undertake a review of the existing situation on Canadian farms with respect to migrant workers. It is evident from the volume of complaints this 60-day snapshot put together by the Migrant Workers Alliance that there a need for immediate action. We further urge that you undertake to act on the recommendations as outlined in the report.

The living conditions identified by these workers are simply unacceptable and we look forward to your prompt response, detailing the steps being taken by the Government of Canada to ensure migrant workers who grow the food that supports Canadians – and the world – are treated with dignity, respect and to ensure their health and safety.

Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates

Connect with Jenny