NDP call on UCP to support businesses as 250,000 lose all income in March

by Morinville News Staff

Citing new data they obtained from Statistics Canada, the NDP Official Opposition say 254,000 Albertans had their income reduced to zero in March. The NDP says the Stats Canada figures indicate 137,000 Albertans are technically still employed; however, they have had their hours reduced to zero, bringing the total number of Albertans who have lost income to 254,000.

“These new numbers show how many Albertans are struggling right now, and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on jobs and our economy,” said NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray n a media release Wednesday. “The scale of the impacts from this pandemic are unprecedented and we will need an unprecedented response from Premier Kenney and his UCP government. Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing it.”

The NDP says the non-inclusion of those who are still technically employed but who have lost all of their income doesn’t tell the entire story.

“The UCP have failed Albertans,” Gray said. “They promised nobody would fall through the cracks during the pandemic, but thousands were left behind and even denied access to the Emergency Isolation Support program. Thankfully the federal government stepped up with their own programs to support Canadians.”

Gray went on to say if the province wants to make sure Albertans have jobs to go back to after this pandemic, the UCP need to support small businesses with immediate financial relief.

“We can’t afford to continue to sit back and watch more Albertans lose their jobs,” Gray said, adding the Opposition put forward a short-term plan to immediately protect Albertans’ jobs and support struggling small businesses.

The plan includes an emergency commercial rent subsidy of up to $10,000, insurance premium freezes and reductions, and $5,000 to help small businesses move operations online.

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