It is clear that the federal government has deployed unprecedented financial aid to directly help citizens, but also to support businesses and the economy. Without these measures, the picture of our society would have been completely different.
I remember how the labor insurance system suddenly collapsed after the issuance of the decree confirming the health crisis as if it were a house of cards. I remember hundreds of people calling us every day, these amazing citizens and employers who were looking for answers. We received between 100 and 200 calls every day from March 16, 2020. I have vivid memories of this period, and I still wonder where we drew the strength to carry on with our work without rest, day in and day out, sometimes from 7:30 in the morning until midnight. 9 p.m. Our lines were crowded; We didn’t finish jotting the messages because the voice mailbox was already full. We’ve set ourselves the goal of reconnecting everyone who left a message on voicemail on the same day. We succeeded. It is an employee of the Montreal Provincial Council of the Confederation of Quebec Workers, Sylvie Mago, who saved us by offering her help to us. She made about 30 to 40 calls a day from her home for weeks. This is what allowed us to catch our breath.
If I had to remove one item, just one item, from the balance sheet to achieve this period, I would say that this emergency service, PKU, has helped, and even saved, many people, millions of people.
It can be argued that fraud occurred, even on a large scale (often by organized groups); It can also be said that people have applied for and obtained this type of benefit knowing full well that they are not entitled to it. All this is true, but the result remains the same: the PCU will be an unprecedented rescue operation to directly help the citizens of this country. This operation succeeded.
One can easily imagine what life would have been like for millions of people without this immediate and direct financial contribution. It must also be understood that this direct assistance was immediately “transferred” into the local economy. I venture to say, from my field experience, but also by noting other earlier crises, such as that of the 1930s, that this emergency service may have saved the country’s economy.
On April 6, 2020, when people were able to start placing an order online or over the phone, everyone held their breath: Will the “machine” stop? Today we can say yes, I resisted. Unemployed workers were able to start collecting the benefits deposited into their bank account the next day, often in two (or more) copies because the government wanted to advance a first month and pay another up front. It all happened amid great fanfare, but at the end of the day, the plan worked. This is the important thing.
We in the office began to feel the reassuring effects in the following weeks. The flow of calls decreased, there was less anxiety, and less uncertainty among people. But we weren’t at the end of our troubles. From the end of April, about a month after the PCU came into effect, it was necessary to manage something else: the insecurity generated by right-wing rhetoric, which makes citizens feel guilty after perceiving the PCU, which makes them feel guilty. Thinking that he touched it perhaps without qualifying for it, and that he should repay it, at least to be ashamed and “atones”. ” embarrassing you ! “We were going to respond to these birds of doom.
The crisis and the social safety net
Why does not like the right phenylketonuria
Editions Somme, November 2021
Who is Pierre Siri?
Pierre Serry has been working for forty years in defense of social, economic and political rights. Coordinator of the Montreal Unemployment Commission since 1997, he has been campaigning to reform the employment insurance system so that it provides a real social safety net for workers. In 2020 signed broken pots, a book that provides a historical overview of the creation and transformation of the employment insurance program, focusing on the struggles that characterized its development.
“Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie.”