In 2020, the Liberal Government implemented a number of programs to help Canadians remain financially stable during the pandemic — but many do not believe it was enough.
With election day coming up, one Canadian citizen, 23-year-old Tasin Ibrahim is considering all his options when looking for a candidate who will help give him a secure financial future.
Ibrahim works at a Japanese restaurant in downtown Toronto — one of the sectors which was struck the hardest by the lockdowns.
It started okay. “With the first lockdown in March, I enjoyed the few weeks off with restaurants closed – I claimed CERB and was glad to spend time with family,” said Ibrahim.
Many Canadians like Ibrahim were thrilled for the implementation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but it was a confusing time. Ibrahim for example, was confused by the qualifications and if he met them. He said many of his coworkers are in Canada as international students, or on a work permit and were also confused by it. Tax issues also caused major headaches.
“I feel like I’m broke now, like I’m happy and grateful for the Liberals for introducing that in the first place but I think I rushed into it without looking into it fully, so I ended up having to pay back a large amount of it on top of the taxes – it honestly screwed me over,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim is trained as a teppanyaki and kitchen chef, and has experience as a server. “We closed from March until the end of June, reopening for patio dining. Being a chef was the best thing for me, especially because I knew how to be a chef and a server so I went wherever they needed me and tried to work as many hours as possible to get back to the income I was making before,” Ibrahim said.
But no matter how much he worked, finances were a struggle, and he was eventually unable to claim CERB or EI.
When the province went into another lockdown in October, he was still not able to claim anything, but the restaurant remained open for take out, so he got to work a couple days a week, enough to help his family out with groceries but his savings had to come to a complete halt.
“I’ve been saving up for the last few years to buy a condo and a car and it set me back so much,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim said he is not opposed to voting for the Liberal party in the upcoming election, but wants them to commit to providing help for people who are falling deeper and deeper into debt.
“All I want is to be able to move out of my family home and I should’ve been able to do it by now — but the way our government handled the pandemic, really just pissed me off. How are any of us, our generation supposed to live now?” Ibrahim said.
He said if Jagmeet Singh and the New Democrats, or Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives can give him what he desperately needs, then that’s who he will be voting for.