PM Says Don’t Worry About CERB Repayments… Yet
It’s Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) with your final Passage Daily of 2020. It’s been a tough year, as you all know, so special thanks to you readers for sticking with us and supporting independent media that challenges mainstream narratives. I’m excited to see what 2021 holds in store.
Anyway, today we’ve got: stories on the feds’ doubletalk regarding CERB repayments for those who were encouraged to apply but technically didn’t meet its criteria; the Ontario government apparently lying about how much it reduced the province’s inmate population during the first lockdown; Alberta’s justice minister stunting on health experts; systemic misogyny at Jack Astor’s restaurants.
Feds Offer Mixed Messages On CERB Repayments
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says people who got threatening letters from the Canada Revenue Agency demanding they repay CERB shouldn’t worry — for now *insert maniacal laugh*.
Trudeau called the nearly 500,000 letters the CRA sent out warning people they may have to repay CERB “educational.” You know, just educating them that despite being encouraged by the government to apply for CERB, they may not be technically eligible and thus must go into debt.
“We sent out those letters, but the message that I’m giving to Canadians is — if that letter is causing you anxiety, don’t worry about it,” Trudeau told the CBC. “You don’t have to repay during Christmas. You don’t have to think about January 1 as any deadline and we’re going to work over the coming weeks and months to make sure that there’s a path forward that makes sense.”
Don’t worry about it — until you have to. Asked about giving amnesty to those who applied in error, Trudeau said this would be determined on a case-by-case basis. There are a lot of “fraudsters out there,” Trudeau warned, without providing a scintilla of evidence.
Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough made clear that those who erroneously applied aren’t getting let off the hook, despite Green and NDP calls to do so, although she said she feels “bad” for them. Unfortunately, feeling bad isn’t going to pay people’s bills.
Context: The eligibility confusion stems from the requirement that applicants have made at least $5,000 in income before taxes in 2019. It turns out the government meant ‘net income’ — income minus expenses, which didn’t originally appear on the CERB application.
- Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto and the Black Legal Action Centre are questioning the basis of the Ontario government’s claim that they reduced the province’s jail population by 30 per cent — or 2,400 people — in the early months of the pandemic.
- According to documents FOIP’d by the two groups, just 645 inmates were released between March 16 and July 22.
- Both have asked the ministry what happened to the other 1,700 or more people, but have received no response.
- The documents also reveal that the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in the carceral system has continued unabated. Of the number of people held in jail awaiting trial, 14 per cent were Black and 12 per cent were Indigenous, a significant overrepresentation of both groups relative to Ontario’s population.
- “We are concerned that whatever steps are being taken, they don’t apply equally to Indigenous communities and Black communities.” — Fareeda Adam, staff lawyer at the Black Legal Action Centre.
- Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu tweeted out a photo of a meeting where he and Premier Jason Kenney, as well as Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard, aren’t wearing masks, which resulted in at least two complaints under the Public Health Act.
- The province’s chief medical officer of health, Deena Hinshaw, is wearing a mask at the meeting.
- According to a public health order issued in Alberta on December 8, masks are mandatory in all indoor workplaces. The only exception is when people are speaking, as long as they are appropriately distanced. Unless the two ministers and premier were talking over each other, they were in violation of the order.
ICYMI: Sexual Harassment A Major Issue At Jack Astor’s
Vice reports that many female employees at Jack Astor’s have experienced sexual harassment on the job and that the company acknowledges it has “work to do.”
For our western Canadian readers, Jack Astor’s is a large chain of bar and grills with dozens of locations in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
One woman who got a job as a server at the Jack’s in Ancaster, Ont., when she was 18 said she feared for her safety when a member of the kitchen staff followed her home after work, which she described as “probably one of the scariest things that I’ve ever experienced.”
When she told management she was uncomfortable being around him, they said she should confront him herself.
Jack Astor’s is owned by SIR Corp, which owns 59 restaurants across the country and employs nearly 4,800 workers. Other former employees say the chain often simply moved those accused of inappropriate behaviour to another location, like the Catholic Church.
That’s it for your December 18 Passage Daily. Happy Holidays and New Year. It’s been a great pleasure helping write this newsletter over the past few months. See you in 2021!
Quick question: do you think the article you just read would be published elsewhere?
Odds are that it would never run in Canada's corporate media. That's why we're asking you to be a part of building a real, left alternative to corporate media — so that more people are exposed to viewpoints and ideas like this one.
But without your support, it's an impossible task. We depend 100% on readers like you becoming members to pay writers and fund our operations. We don't take money from wealthy backers and we don't run ads.Become a member