Opinion: Early State of June 2020

An innovation will get traction only if it helps people get something that they’re already doing in their lives done better.

Clayton Christensen

It’s June 9th, the year is 2020 and the entire world is shaken. In 6 months we have gone and still going through an epidemic that has taken us by surprise. World markets were pushed to the limits both financially but also psychically.

Entire nations were locked down, a health crisis like no other, that has stretched our National Social Services to a overburdened and expensive endeavor to keep our citizens moving. Never before has the mainstream media, political members of all party lines, and millions of worried citizens have talked about a guaranteed livable income at the same time.

It is the ultimate conversation when it comes to Social Services and how it funds our poorest and less fortunate. Our system wasn’t designed for a national lockdown, nor for the effects afterwards of all the new job types created in the last 60 years. Some will come roaring back, but some could take months or even years to get to the levels they were. Most supports for Covid are all long expired before November. Winter will be harsh, with many evictions coming, along with Utility cut-offs and bad credit.

Self-Employment dropped dramatically as Door-to-Door stopped completely, Film Production stopped worldwide, Businesses shuttered their doors, work from home rose, public transit dropped upto 90%, construction came to a stop delaying projects years. There is many that fear that a wave of lawsuits, litigations, settlements and more are on the horizon. There was no predicting this.

So our Government instituted what it claimed a quick response to the pandemic with CERB. A great idea in the beginning but quickly became criticized of not including a great number of the population after suffering an already big debate over if it should just be universal. Too expensive they said. Then came the announcement of CEWS but was slow to respond. Not enough people were included again. Not enough businesses even applied, having it’s predicted expense cut in over half, while doubling CERB.

Extremely slow was the supports for Students, Seniors, Disabled, while only taking care of the homeless by pumping funding into Shelters and not trying to give independence funding and getting them homes instead. A UBI would have had the shelter system emptied by now. Most would have found homes, and we would be shifting to Mental Health and perhaps some supports over home visits to ensure standards are kept.

So far our government has spent at least $152 Billion on Covid-19 relief. With a deficit of at least $260 Billion we have to ask if we truly are being transparent and efficient enough in the way we distribute “Basic Needs” funding.

We spend way too much on Administration of programs that are designed to claw back as much funding as possible with a negative effect. What is this negative effect? Well it’s the increase annually to all the Administration costs. Each year you can expect at least a 5% increase overall in costs from Salaries, Increase in Paper, Computers, Equipment, Office Space, Electricity, etc. IF you are lucky. I mean we are talking about negotiated contracts, the time it takes to make them, etc. Unions will cry out over job losses or forced reassignment for a “unproven” method. Scandals they will say.

We fear breaking these contracts of all these organizations, government programs, etc and so we say it’s too expensive to change the way we do it. Yet, we aren’t planning ahead. We’ve increased our population worldwide by EIGHT times in the last 100 years, so what’s waiting another 50-60 years for change. Perhaps when Toronto hits 10,000,000 people we will think it’s time. Another generation won’t care how much we borrow with higher interest for the same support right?

Things won’t change overnight, and now after a “Clearly” stated intention not to prosecute those that used the CERB or penalize them, “Just get the money back” i believe was said, we are going to spend Millions in a “tip-line”, justice costs, lawyers, and waste our own government’s time, because we couldn’t make a program that spent twice the estimated annual cost of a UBI universal.

We should have started Universal, then would have come the Wage supports, Rent supports for Commercial, Program investments, Loan defferals, etc. But the government wouldn’t be overspending, in fact, it would be condensing during the “Great Office Shutdown” and I bet we wouldn’t have paid for all these new workers at home trying to claw back every dime we spent.

The media spent more time covering the “Double-payments” fiasco, having multiple answers for it, 2 websites to apply instead of 1, mixed reporting periods, open to fraud in so many ways, and now they are going to be fined or imprisoned.

I’m sad to see how the government is responding to this crisis, as this was the great big chance when we first “Sheltered at home” to strip down these expensive programs that give out the same support and revamp them for a more hands-on approach to employment and mental supports.

I encourage everyone to sign the Petitions that are out there so our Members of Parliament can hear you. So far, we haven’t been able to get more than a few thousand signatures on one, so let’s all Share the page even just once, so as many as possible can. It only takes 2 minutes and I know I felt great about it.

If we can get a truly program out there, it will force the smaller programs to adapt. They will take away your basic income supports granted, but you already got them with UBI and these other programs can either “Continue to support” you to keep funding where possible, or they can target better supports such as “Dental, Prescription, Mental Health, Councillors, etc”

Sign one or two today, and feel amazing that you are pushing for the less fortunate to not be so less fortunate but have a true chance at growth.

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