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Commons committee asks Liberals to look to basic income to help ‘gig’ workers


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OTTAWA — A cross-party committee of MPs says it’s time for the government to take a deeper look at a guaranteed minimum income to help workers caught in the tectonic shifts of the “gig economy.”

The MPs’ report on declines in traditional, full-time employment in favour of short-term contract work says the government needs to explore new types of income supports “that do not depend upon someone having a job.”

To that end, the committee calls on federal officials to review a minimum-income program, which is typically a no-strings-attached government payment to every citizen that replaces an assortment of targeted benefits, as an option to help those between gigs who fall through the existing social safety net.

The report calls for a revamp of the employment-insurance system to widen that net, reducing the minimum number of hours someone must work before qualifying for benefits, boosting payments to low-wage workers, and reconsidering the benefits available to self-employed workers. It also calls on the government to modernize federal labour regulations.

MPs on the committee nod to some recent federal efforts, such as a soon-to-be-launched tax credit for individuals to offset the cost of work-training courses.

But here, too, the committee urges the government to pay close attention to the design of the Canada Training Benefit to make sure it is accessible to low-wage, part-time or self-employed workers and to make every effort to ensure they use the program.

The training benefit, to launched in late 2020, would provide a $250 refundable tax credit each year, accumulating over time if it isn’t used, to Canadians earning between $10,000 and about $150,000 a year. The plan is expected to cost $710 million over five years.

Federal officials have considered the idea among a wide range of possibilities to reshape social-safety-net programs that were designed for a workforce that needed help at certain fairly predictable points, such as upon losing a full-time job, having children and retiring. Lifetimes of freelancing, contracts and multiple part-time jobs punctuated by returns to school don’t fit the model.

A discussion paper crafted in December 2018 for the deputy minister at Employment and Social Development Canada identified rising income inequality and the growth of the “online platform economy” — exemplified by companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, which broker work while doing everything possible not to become formal employers — among the top issues to tackle in a redesign of federal policies.

Officials wanted to look at a small number of policy areas to keep work manageable and “stress-testing” alternative policies under “more extreme scenarios” than officials had previously envisioned, such as if unemployment spiked. The Canadian Press obtained a copy of that paper and accompanying briefing note under the access-to-information law.

The Commons committee says its report can form the foundation of future federal research and planning but stresses the need to revamp the social safety net.

“The nature of work is changing. Yet, the blueprints of our social safety net and our foundational labour legislation were developed in a different time,” the report, released Monday, reads.

“In this new world of work, it is essential that government and employers take necessary measures to protect workers from precariousness, the effects of which can be mitigated with efficient policies and social safety nets.”

The Canadian Press


Video attacking Canada’s response to COVID created by Conservative leadership hopeful is going viral

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This video was posted by MP Erin O’Toole.

The RCAF veteran, and former Minister of Veterans Affairs is running to replace Andrew Scheer and hoping to become Canada’s next Prime Minister.

The video is a scathing review of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.  It has already been viewed well over half a million times.

From the Facebook page of Erin 0’Toole  

The Truth About COVID-19

➡️ The Chinese regime, the WHO and the Trudeau government DO NOT want people to see this.Let's make sure Canadians see the truth! 👍🇨🇦

Posted by Erin O'Toole on Thursday, May 21, 2020


NDP makes support for suspending Commons contingent on permanent sick leave

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Canadian Forces Snowbirds release video of Jennifer Casey homecoming

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From the Facebook page of Canadian Forces Snowbirds 

You are joining us live from the Halifax International Airport for the homecoming of Captain Jennifer Casey, a military Public Affairs Officer who was killed in a CF Snowbirds crash during Operation INSPIRATION.

Homecoming of Captain Jennifer Casey | La capitaine Jennifer Casey rentre chez elle

You are joining us live from the Halifax International Airport for the homecoming of Captain Jennifer Casey, a military Public Affairs Officer who was killed in a CF Snowbirds crash during Operation INSPIRATION.#CFSnowbirdsNous sommes en direct à l’Aéroport international d’Halifax afin d’assister au retour de la capitaine Jennifer Casey, officière des affaires publiques militaire qui a perdu la vie dans l’écrasement d’un appareil des Snowbirds des FC pendant l’op INSPIRATION.#SnowbirdsFC

Posted by Canadian Forces Snowbirds on Sunday, May 24, 2020

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may, 2020

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