Federal Election 2021: Question 2

As our industry collapsed, those of our members who are self-employed (including those who are routinely misclassified as independent contractors) were unable to avail themselves of traditional supports like Employment Insurance. Was your party in support of the CERB/CRB, and its extensions?

Bloc Québécois:

The Bloc Québécois will propose a comprehensive reform of employment insurance that will protect all workers and take into account the increasingly unavoidable realities of self-employed workers or those with special status, as well as seasonal work. This reform will also permanently close the EI black hole.

As for the CERB/CRB, throughout the pandemic, the Bloc has worked with the other parties in setting up these assistance programs in order to offer as much support as possible to as many people as quickly as possible. At the height of the crisis, we were very much in favour of these measures and their extension. However, now that the economic recovery is well underway, we believe that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) should be suspended. It is important to note that we would like to ensure that it can be reactivated depending on the intensity of future waves and that it remains in effect for carefully targeted sectors and job categories where recovery remains slow, such as the cultural sector or aerospace.

As mentioned above, we are also committed to standing behind Quebec’s artists and the entire cultural sector to ensure the sustainability and predictability of cultural and tourism programs and grants. In this sense, we want to make permanent the investments made in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, extended by the Fall 2020 Economic Statement for 2021-2022 and again renewed for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, as well as the emergency amounts added to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Fund.

Conservative Party of Canada:

Did not respond by deadline or in the “Q&A” format provided. Please click here for full response.

Green Party of Canada: 

Did not respond by deadline, however, the response has been added below:

Yes, and we continue to support extension of these measures and implementation of a guaranteed livable income that will support the creative sector along with the many Canadian workers whose jobs are disappearing due to automation and the lack of labour regulation that addresses the shortcomings of the so-called “gig” economy.

Liberal Party of Canada:

  • Absolutely. The Liberal Party had Canadians’ backs in putting in place the CERB and CRB, and extended the CRB to ensure workers remain covered as the economy reopens unevenly in some sectors. To address the needs of the culture sector specifically, we have committed to implement a transitional support program for artists, technicians and other professionals across the industry to get them through the winter and until the sector is more uniformly open at full capacity.
  • Going forward, we have also committed to introduce a new EI benefit for self-employed Canadians, delivered through the tax system, which would be beneficial to many workers in the arts sector.
  • We are committed to remain a steadfast partner to the Arts & Culture and support our workers.

New Democratic Party:
New Democrats have been in support of the CERB/CRB and its extensions from the very beginning and at every stage of the pandemic.

Our broken EI system was clearly not up to the challenges of the pandemic, which is why New Democrats supported the creation of new emergency benefits and fought for them to be set at the level of $500 a week, so that unemployed workers and people providing care would be able to make ends meet. We also fought to maintain that benefit level when the Liberal government announced plans to replace the CERB with the Canada Recovery Benefits set at only $400 a week.

English (Canada)