We were very pleased when CERB was announced, especially with how flexible and easy it was for those who qualified. We were also glad that the government listened and then brought more and more international students into it.
The concern that we have is that there are a significant numbers of folks—we were talking about folks with precarious immigration status and those who are undocumented—who have not been able to access CERB.
As you know, OCASI has been having this conversation with every minister we can find, to talk about that and talk about the folks who have been here for many years, folks who have fallen through the gaps for whatever reason and are now undocumented. They've been working in the informal economy, have lost their jobs and have no access to provincial benefits or to income supports like CERB.
As I said in my presentation, there are very many community-based organizations that are trying to raise funds. OCASI itself worked with two foundations—the Atkinson Foundation and the new Mariam Assefa Fund, through World Education Services—to provide some relief to a number of families, particularly in southern Ontario and here in Toronto. Those folks continue to need support.
In terms of the rapid response to CERB, the expansion to ensure that international students were able to get in, the flow of information, although at the front end we had some concerns about the lack of translated information, agencies really stepped up to ensure that the message was being pushed out to communities in whichever way, through various first-language media and those kinds of things, so the uptake for those who qualified was very positive. The folks we're concerned about are those who are continuing, even now, to fall through the cracks because they're not eligible for provincial social assistance and not eligible for federal income supports. Something has to happen there.