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Struggling Workers Face Uncertain Future With End Of Pandemic Benefits

Canadians with few viable job prospects and little income support say they are facing a 'bleak' future with the termination of the Canada Recovery Benefit.

Struggling Workers Face Uncertain Future With End Of Pandemic Benefits
Chrystia Freeland/Facebook.

From The Maple: Canadians with few viable job prospects and little income support are facing a “bleak” future with the termination of the Canada Recovery Benefit.

  • Last week, The Maple heard from several former CRB recipients who are now unsure of how they will make ends meet after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the program would not be extended last month.

D.J., who works for a small non-profit in Alberta, had her hours cut in half during the pandemic, and relied on CERB and then CRB to support herself and her husband, who receives disability benefits.

  • “We were able to pay all the bills and actually eat (with CERB),” D.J. told The Maple. “It’s the first time in almost 20 years that my husband and I have actually been able to live like human beings.”

Now, D.J. and her husband are facing an uncertain future. “It's probably going to be a game of okay, what bill doesn't get paid this month so that we can eat, because that was what we were doing before,” she said.

  • David Macdonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, recently wrote that 880,000 Canadians were kicked off the benefit when it was terminated last month.

Many of those workers, Macdonald told The Maple, are not yet able to return to work. “In key industries, restrictions remain,” Macdonald explained. “Those industries can't fully reopen for a variety of reasons related to public health and government mandates, and so there's still plenty of people who can't restart their previous jobs.”

  • One of those workers is Arthur McGregor, a musician from Kemptville, Ont., who told The Maple that the pandemic benefits were “a lifesaver.”

But with no guarantee that in-person concerts will fully rebound in the near future, it’s not clear how professional musicians like McGregor will make a living in the short term. “I honestly don't know how this is going to play out,” said McGregor. “It's so hard to try and figure out what the future looks like.”

Read The Maple’s full story here.

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