NDP Leader Ryan Meili issued the following statement in response to the province’s release of a social services pandemic response:
An emergency demands an emergency response. Other provinces acted much more quickly and much more substantially, including Alberta, which committed $30 million over a week ago to support shelters and frontline organizations.
$171,000, divided between ten shelters, is a far cry from that level of support. It simply won’t come close to addressing the needs people are facing, with many organizations needing to hire additional staff and make changes to their facilities to allow their clients the space for physical distancing.
Shelter in hotels is a positive step, but it needs to be accompanied by real resources to ensure clients are supported and for people self-isolating COVID-19.
We were also disappointed not to see support for testing sites in downtown centres in cities across the province or any support for other agencies that will be facing greater demand, such as food banks.
We will continue to press for more details, more clarity and more supports for people in need in the coming days.