COVID-19

Legislated paid sick leave is long overdue

May 4, 2020
Workers in British Columbia without a union collective agreement have no paid sick leave rights under the Employment Standards Act—the provincial legislation that contains the minimum conditions of employment for all workers, such as minimum wage and statutory holidays with pay. On March 23, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government made two… View Article

Dismantling tent cities—why choice matters

Apr 28, 2020
On April 25, 2020 the BC government announced a plan to evacuate tent city communities in Vancouver and Victoria and place residents in temporary accommodations.[2] There have been many calls from community urging the government to recognize that people experiencing homelessness are disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19 and other health and human rights issues. We commend… View Article

Comparing provincial economic responses to COVID-19

Apr 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of collective responses via governments at all levels. The Canadian context of federalism, with a division of powers between federal and provincial/territorial governments, also highlights key differences in approaches to the pandemic. At its best, federalism is an advantageous arrangement, with the federal government addressing national issues,… View Article

This year’s tree-planting seedlings could end up a huge compost pile

Apr 22, 2020
For British Columbia’s tree-planting industry, COVID-19’s arrival came at the worst of times. This year was to be the industry’s great leap forward, the biggest season on record with more than 300 million seedlings slated to be planted. But while the industry managed to get the provincial government to declare “reforestation” an essential service, it… View Article

Time to end profit-making in seniors’ care

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on serious problems in Canada’s seniors’ care system, as nursing homes quickly became the epicenters of the outbreak. These problems are not only due to the greater vulnerability of seniors to the disease, but also to how care is organized and staffed.  In recent weeks, BC’s provincial government… View Article

Who’s left out? COVID-19 & psychiatric detainees

Apr 21, 2020
For weeks, we’ve all been doing our best to follow guidelines about staying home and physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But who is left out of those public health protections? What happens when laws or policies impair the ability of people to make their own decisions and protect themselves against the virus?… View Article

Digital equity and community solidarity during and after COVID-19

As many have noted, COVID-19 is an efficient illuminator of our society’s strengths and weaknesses; its progress accelerates in spaces of inequality and injustice. There is a race among public health agencies at all levels to provide timely, accurate information about COVID-19 that is essential to support physical distancing policies and to maintain quarantine and… View Article

Time to extend financial supports to local governments

Apr 15, 2020
Local governments and regional authorities like TransLink have been missing from federal and provincial economic responses to COVID-19. Local governments are facing collapsing revenues, and unlike federal and provincial governments, they are not allowed to run deficits to cover their operating costs. As a result they are already staring into the abyss of painful austerity… View Article