One of the by-products of the global COVID 19 pandemic is that all of a sudden people are paying attention to where things are actually manufactured. On Monday morning April 13, the lead headline on the CBC website was “Canada building its own PPE supply chain…in China”. As the Toronto Star noted in its April 7, Editorial – “Canada Needs a New Industrial Policy”, when Canada is left scrambling for medical equipment, relying on goods that are manufactured halfway around the world “doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore”.
In a medical sense, COVID-19, as highly contagious as it is, can be thought of as the great leveller. No one has immunity, and we face the health risk of this virus with a sense of our common humanity.
On March 31st, Phase 2 of Ontario’s “Learn at Home” program was announced in response to COVID-19 school closures. The announcement has resulted in inconsistency in communication to parents and to teachers, who are tasked with supporting two million students with a diverse range of learning needs and inconsistent access to resources and support at home.
Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) were opened on Monday, April 6th, and officials have estimated that up to 4 million people may apply for the emergency support. Since March 15th, more than 2 million workers had already applied for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Thanks to the hard work of countless federal public servants working in Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, some EI applicants are already receiving CERB-like benefits and GST credits are now expected to arrive by mid-April. Yet the question still remains whether these programs provide sufficient support for all of those in need.