January 12th, 2021
NDP: Government needs to get workers in hard-hit sectors relief
OTTAWA – In a letter to Ministers Freeland and Joly, New Democrats are calling on the Liberals to ensure that the relief they announced for sectors particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic benefits workers and gets delivered immediately. The Highly Affected Sector Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) was announced in November but, months later, businesses are still waiting for support.
“Announcing programs and then not actually getting the money out the door hurts businesses and workers,” said Gord Johns, NDP Critic for Small Business and Economic Development. “People are struggling and the government has to make sure that supporting workers in these hardest-hit sectors is their top priority.”
According to data from the Coalition of Hardest Hit businesses, 40 per cent of businesses in the tourism and travel-adjacent sectors will not make it to the end of February. The NDP is demanding that the government ensures HASCAP support is used to directly benefit workers in sectors that are particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 who are worried about losing their jobs.
“It’s simply unacceptable for large corporations to be claiming the wage subsidy and then ask for more support while they let go of most of their workforce,” said Johns. “Government help can’t be used to restructure a business, it has to go towards protecting jobs.”
The NDP has repeatedly raised concerns that larger corporations are misusing government programs to issue dividends, engage in stock buy-backs, or provide executive bonuses.
“It’s another reason that HASCAP must be delivered with protections for workers,” said Johns. “Support from the government must always protect workers, not line the pockets of those who are already profiting off the pandemic.”