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LETTER: Recent post-secondary grads falling through cracks in COVID-19 aid

Dear Editor,

My name is Amy and I am a recent Selkirk College graduate.

When I say recent, I mean recent. I graduated February 28, 2020 and, within days of said graduation, COVID-19 started its climb to the pandemic that it is currently.

I am writing to you because recently-graduated students have been forgotten in the emergency funding being provided to Canadian citizens.

Everything began shutting down as of March 1, 2020 and because of that, I am unable to get a full time job in the profession (for which) I chose to go to college. I was once a care aide but because of injuries I am unable to do physical work, and so I attended college for a career in administration.

I know I’m not the only one in this position, as many people in my class are currently in the same position. However, it may a bit easier for them as they could have spouses to help with bills, rent and everyday living while this pandemic is happening.

For me, I came out of school at the wrong time and because of my circumstances I have little to no options for emergency assistance. I don’t have a spouse to take care of me. I was denied EI because I had used it prior to attending school, my “income” then came from the EI reachback program which, from my understanding, makes me unqualified for emergency assistance.

Fortunately, I was able to apply for basic income assistance to get me through but as of April 28, 2020, all my deferred bills are no longer deferred and I will not have enough money to keep my head above water.

People in my situation have been completely forgotten by the government. Current students are getting help, previously employed and self employed people are getting help but here I am, not a current student, and not previously “employed” to the governments standards to qualify for emergency assistance. The government has put myself and everyone else in this position in a corner and basically told us “good luck”.

I have done everything in my power to better my life but because of the road to get here and the timing of graduation, I am all but forgotten.

WE NEED HELP. I NEED HELP.

Sincerely, Amy (Last name withheld at editor's descretion)

Castlegar 

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