Friday, April 10, 2020

(Part 2) CERB and ESP

Part Two : the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit 
the Elora Sculpture Project 
(or - 'So glad I don't live in the USA)

As the Canadians reading this surely know, our various levels of Government responded quickly, based on the available science, to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some might quibble if measures like lock downs were done fast enough. The huge difference in progress of the plague within Canada and the USA demonstrates this clearly. (1)
The Government of Canada announced early that there would be some kind of financial support system enacted to ensure individuals who lost pay because of the 'stay at home' recommendations and increasing closures would still be able to cover their rent, utilities and basic food costs. So far the process has certainly been 'help Canadians FIRST - figure the find details LATER. (2)

As I covered in Part One, I personally have lost all my expected income because of the Government closure of all but 'essential business'. This included two weekend training programs already booked with deposits in April.

So now what?

The other thing intended to undertake over April was building, then installing, this year's entry into the Elora Sculpture Project. (3)
Something important to know is that there is no financial reward involved in participating in the ESP. Entries are chosen via a jury process, and individual artists loan their work to Elora for exhibit over the May to October period. Potentially any piece is available for sale (to be delivered only after the end of the exhibit period). I personally have had work chosen every year since 2013 - but have only ever sold one sculpture (2015 - 'Armoured Fish'). So in total, this has just about put me to 'break even' on the cost of materials for the seven pieces created so far. As each sculpture has typically taken 2 - 3 weeks to produce, any compensation for labour has not happened.

Yes, the first CERB will almost cover the direct losses from my cancelled April courses.
What the second CERB amount will do is partially offset the time I will be using (and the material costs involved) for building the 2020 ESP sculpture 'Last to Sea'

I will leave it up to the reader to determine if this represents 'your tax dollars well spent'...

Part Three : Creating 'Elkhorn Coral' Element

(1) As well as proving the superiority of Canada's Universal Healthcare system.
And the core value of a National Character founded on a principle of Community Standards - over one based on 'Individual Rights'.

(2) Partially for any Americans reading (Canadians know this already)
Initial measures were a direct wage subsidy to employers to help keep workers on payrolls (first 15 %, quickly increased to 75%). Our fairly good Unemployment Insurance system was modified to eliminate any waiting period, and to cover anyone laid off due to COVID-19 effects (either workplace shut down or individual illness).
About a week later, the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit system was announced - a system of payments which would also cover those in involved in the UI system - particularly those self employed like myself.
At least at point of this writing, at the end of the week individuals could apply for the CERB, it certainly appears the mechanism is 'send money NOW - figure out if you really needed the money LATER'. There was no 'needs test' or 'adjusted amount'. Everyone who undertook what proved to be an extremely simple process (despite my earlier concerns and preparations) has been told to expect the first payment within 10 days. (Given the huge volume of applicants, there may end up some delay there - but this should be expected.)
On the 'adjusted amount' side - everyone has been told to expect the identical '$2000 per 4 weeks' payment. Right now the coverage is extended to the first 16 weeks (after March 13). As should be fully understood, this will represent a taxable benefit. So it certainly appears at this date that any 'adjustment for need' is likely to happen via the 2020 income tax mechanism (so into March / April 2021).

(3) See an earlier commentary on how I see COVID-19 effecting the 2020 ESP.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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