TREATY ONE TERRITORY, WINNIPEG, MB - As temperatures drop and Manitoba stays in Code Red, Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister Government must immediately reintroduce and expand a ban on evictions to prevent needless economic suffering.
Manitoba Liberals have written to the Pallister Government asking to bring back the residential ban on evictions immediately, bring in a rent freeze, and bring in a broader eviction ban for farmers and other businesses.
"Thousands of people can't work and there are huge delays in getting provincial Employment Income Assistance (EIA), which is the same as it was in 1986," said Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface and Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party. "In every way, the second wave of the pandemic is worse and the PCs need to step up right now to protect people and businesses from losing everything. Winter is here, it is getting colder, and making sure people have a roof over their head should be a top priority in this pandemic."
Currently, it takes weeks for people to get an appointment to apply for provincial EIA, which in many cases only pays $900 a month. The market rent for a 1-bedroom in Winnipeg is over $1,000.
Manitoba Liberals say that Manitoba should:
- Immediately reinstate the ban on residential evictions with supports for landlords
- Impose a rent freeze until December 2021, as was done in Ontario in October
- Stop the CERB clawback on EIA, modernize EIA rates, and address EIA processing wait times
- Bring in an eviction ban for Manitoba ranchers who are struggling to pay their leases
- Broaden protections and supports for commercial renters
Many Manitoba ranchers are facing a tough time paying their bills after the PCs made changes to Crown Land leases that have hugely driven up costs, all on the heels of drought, floods, and now pandemic uncertainty.
A December 2020 report from Campaign 2000, titled "Manitoba: Poverty Central" showed that Manitoba is once again the child poverty capital of Canada, with rates of poverty 10.1% worse than the national average.
The report directly connected Manitoba's poverty rates with the policies of successive NDP and PC governments, who froze social assistance rates for decades while doubling the number of children in care, and taking their federal benefits.
Between 1989 and 2012, under the PCs and NDP alike, income assistance rates in Manitoba dropped in real dollars.
On top of more than 30 years of freezes in income assistance, the PCs have made cuts to staff at EIA, resulting in a huge increase of workloads and a huge increase in wait times for EIA applicants. Now it takes several weeks before even getting an intake appointment. Sometimes there can be significant delays beyond this.
"This pandemic has shown how connected we all are, and just how rotten our safety net has become over the decades," said Lamont. "We need to make sure as many people and businesses stay safe and solvent between now and the end of this pandemic."
In 2012, under the NDP, Manitoba's EIA rates were lower than they were in 1989; 23 years earlier.
- A single employable person: $2,870 less than 1989
- A person with a disability: $1,123 less than 1989
- A single parent with one child aged 2: $1,123 less than 1989
- A couple with two children aged 10 and 5: $5,991 less than 1989.
2018, under the PCs, Manitoba's rates were still lower than 26 years earlier.
- A single employable person received $732 less than in 1992
- A person with a disability received $849 LESS than in 1992
- A single parent with one child aged 2 received $2,044 less than 1992
- A couple with two children aged 10 and 5 received $5,991 less.