During this unprecedented time, I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to our community to wish you good health and strength. I recognize this is a difficult time for many. It is not easy to be isolated from family, friends, and loved ones. I also want to acknowledge the very difficult financial position that many people are in as a result of COVID-19. We need to do better to ensure all people have what they need to thrive. I am pleased that the NDP continues to push hard for a universal direct payment to everyone across Canada instead of the complicated system the government has put into place.
Although we have not achieved this yet, as a result of negotiations, the NDP was able to get CERB opened up to many who had been previously excluded. This includes increased funding for small business owners, seasonal workers owners and operators, individuals who exhausted their EI prior to March 15, part-time workers and those will minimal income. We also fought hard and were successful in having the government commit to putting in place support for students as well as increased supports for essential workers.
At this critical time, it is imperative that all parties work together to improve the lives of people while we fight our way through COVID-19. We still have many gaps that need to be addressed, particularly with assisting individuals who are faced with severe systemic barriers including members of the homeless community, the disability community, seniors, Indigenous Nations, and newcomer and refugee populations who often have greater levels of poverty. We must continue pushing to ensure everyone is provided what they need to be safe including a home, access to clean drinking water, and food security. I will continue to speak up for these most basic human rights that all Canadians should enjoy.
I look forward to a time in the near future where we can meet again. I miss the community tremendously but know we will get through this together. Until such time, I look forward to meeting with you over the phone, online, and other places in cyberspace. Wishing you are well. You are in my heart and thoughts.
Please note: To ensure compliance with Health Canada guidelines, our Winnipeg Centre team continues to provide services to the community over the phone and via email at this time. If you have any questions about your eligibility for government programs, please don't hesitate to contact our office at Leah.Gazan@parl.gc.ca or 204-984-1675.