Much uncertainty about financial aid rollout
With new information from the feds about pandemic financial support, Simcoe Grey MP Terry Dowdall said there is a lot of tension in the community that he expects will rise until all the details are ironed out and cheques are in the mail, so to speak.
The government is spending billions of dollars in aid through tax credits and benefits for parents, employees, the self-employed, businesses, Indigenous communities, the homeless, women’s shelters and those who are quarantined, ill or caring for people who have contracted the COVID-19 virus.
“There are a lot of unknowns, and that is the frustrating part,” he said referring to the administrative details of pay-outs, and realistic timeframes.
Dowdall has been inundated with calls from residents and businesses. With the first of the month came concerns from both tenants and landlords about rent, and the uncertainty about paying and getting paid. With the announcement of funds, he said there is a perception that people will start seeing the money right away, but they may take time, which is tough for people who were already having trouble making ends meet.
“My biggest concern over the next period of time is, until those cheques come in, is that people have avenues or routes to make sure they are able to get food and things of that nature. A lot of people need the money today and they are going to the mailbox thinking it’s coming immediately and I just don’t see that happening in the confusion I have seen happening so far,” said Dowdall.
Throughout the process, as official opposition, the Conservatives have been pushing back against what they saw as untethered financial powers to reign in the government and push for “constructive solutions to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.”
Dowdall said he is very happy about the employee wage subsidy increase from 10 to 75 per cent, an incentive for businesses to keep employees on the payroll, rather than lay them off. The application process is set to open April 6. He said the problem is that because of the timing a number of people have already been laid off and have already applied for employment insurance.
“You can’t roll out a program and get people all excited and not know the details or how it’s going to work because a lot of people are falling through the cracks, depending on what they do, and the type of business they are in,” said Dowdall.
He said his office is hearing from many concerned residents, and the answers just aren’t there.
“The reality is people have to be patient, they have to wait but it doesn’t really help people’s stress level to be waiting on the phone for four hours. We need to have more people answering those calls,” said Dowdall.
He commends other levels of government for finding other cost savings for people, such as hydro and relief from tax payments. He said all levels of government are working together to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
Dowdall encourages anyone wanting to get in the queue for any of the financial support programs to register with the Canada Revenue Agency.
For details, see the Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan at Canada.ca.
The Echo has put together a list of trusted sources of help for those who need support with mental health support, food services, financial assistance, access to employment insurance or other financial supports. For details about 211Ontario, how to access and support the Clearview Stayner Food Bank, reaching out to Creemore Caremongering, click here.