March 19, 2020
I’m writing to update you on our government’s work the day after our province declared a state of emergency during the COVID-19 crisis.
Many people are feeling anxious and uncertain right now. British Columbians – and people across the world – are facing a pandemic, and these feelings are understandable. We’re in an unprecedented situation that is changing by the day.
The most important part of our work is protecting people. With more and more people working contract-to-contract or self-employed in the gig economy, workers deserve direct support as they self-isolate or care for their families, no matter how they earn a living.
I’m pleased that the package announced by the federal government acted on our request for additional benefits to support people who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance.
But there’s still much more to do. People need to be able to afford rent and essentials while staying home during this crisis. That’s why we’ll be briefly returning to the legislature next week to make amendments to the Employment Standards Act.
In the days ahead, we’ll also have much more to say about offering immediate help through a made-in-BC plan focused on supporting services that protect health and safety, and beginning our longer-term plan for economic recovery.
As our work continues, I’m asking British Columbians to take care of themselves – and each other. Check on a neighbour. Give a family member a call.
We cannot express enough gratitude to the people making a difference at this time. Whether you work in healthcare, stock grocery store shelves, or help keep one of the many other essential services going for British Columbians: Thank you!
These measures are temporary, and life will return to normal. By doing what’s right, staying calm, and looking out for one another, we’ll discover how strong we are when we work together.
Premier John Horgan
BC’s New Democrats