Evidence of meeting #37 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was sick.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Louis Sansfaçon  As an Individual
Marie-Hélène Dubé  Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual
José Bazin  Community organizer, Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you so much.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Madam Zarrillo.

That concludes our first hour with witnesses.

Thank you, Monsieur Gourde and Monsieur Sansfaçon, for your passionate testimony before committee this afternoon.

We'll suspend for a few minutes while we transition to the second hour. The next witnesses will be appearing virtually.

Thank you very much.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

We'll resume with the second panel, committee members.

Welcome back.

As you are aware, we're studying Bill C-215, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine).

I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of the two witnesses who are appearing virtually with us today.

You have the choice of speaking in the official language of your choice. To get my attention, please use the “raise hand” icon at the bottom of your screen. If for any reason we lose translation, please get my attention, and we'll suspend while it is corrected. I would also remind you to please direct all questions through the chair.

I would like to begin by welcoming, as an individual, Marie-Hélène Dubé, and from Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal, José Bazin.

Each presenter has five minutes.

We will begin with Madame Dubé for five minutes, please.

4:45 p.m.

Marie-Hélène Dubé Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Good afternoon. Thank you for having me here for the third time. I am going to make a few clarifications.

Since 2009, I have been running the campaign 15 Weeks is Not Enough. I battled cancer three times between 2003 and 2008. I only got 15 weeks of benefits. As a result, I started a petition that became the largest in Canada, collecting 620,000 signatures. I was involved in the development of the majority of bills.

So my tenure has been longer than most MPs. I think it's important to remember that context, as so many Canadians have been involved in this process and have called for an increase in the benefit period from 26 to 50 weeks.

I never thought I would be going through the same nightmare again 13 years later. I had more complications and, as of August 28, I am still without an income because my 15 weeks of benefits are over. In short, everything that was said before applies.

I'm glad to see that there is a new bill, but, honestly, I find it very discouraging. I have worked with all the parties over the years. Everyone always agrees during discussions, but the game of musical chair game continues. It used to be the Conservatives who blocked the Liberals. Now the roles are reversed. Honestly, I've seen it all. Ask me, I was there, unfortunately.

So this bill must succeed. The political bickering passes, but in the meantime, people are suffering. When the Liberals, though strongly supportive of this change, proposed 26 weeks of benefits, Mr. Sansfaçon and Émilie had just joined my fight and we did a tremendous amount of legwork.

I also met with Justin Trudeau and Carla Qualtrough, who made it clear to me that we were not going to be limited to 26 weeks and would go back to the drawing board and change that to fit the reality. I met with the people responsible for the budget, such as Sean Fraser and Tyler Meredith. Then I met with Mona Fortier. Everyone agreed not to limit ourselves to 26 weeks and to find an appropriate length.

Finally, in summary, COVID‑19 came along and, for reasons we can't explain, we went back to 26 weeks. That hasn't moved since 1971. If we're doing something, let's do it right.

A lot of numbers were cited earlier, but I would remind you that setting the benefit period at 26 weeks is going to let down the people who need it the most. Extending the benefit period from 26 weeks to 50 weeks changes everything when it comes to treatment and recovery.

Right now, I'm dealing with costs that have skyrocketed. It just doesn't make any sense. Honestly, I'm really not proud to be Canadian. The UN calls Canada a laughingstock when it comes to social programs. There are many things that make me proud, but this is not one of them. I find this appalling.

In addition, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has demonstrated that this is a viable change. We can pay for this; people agree, it is a socially acceptable measure. As I said, extending the duration of benefits from 26 weeks to 50 weeks would completely change the situation.

I want to make a clarification about private insurance, which was talked about a lot earlier. Whether you have private insurance or not, it's important to talk about eligibility. When you spent your childhood at Sainte-Justine Hospital or a family member is sick, no matter how much you apply, you are not eligible.

I am a criminologist by training and I worked for over 10 years in youth protection. So there are a lot of things that I specialize in. The risk of abuse has been mentioned and good points have been made, but what is not often mentioned are the consequences of doing nothing. People may think that amending the legislation in this way is going to cost a lot of money, but who has ever thought about the cost of doing nothing? It costs a fortune to keep this outdated legislation in place because there are a lot of unnecessary extra costs. It is important to consider this.

On the other hand, there is the intergenerational transmission of poverty, which ranges from three to seven generations according to the authors. For example, when a person, after 26 weeks on benefits, is forced to sell their house, is on the street and has to go on welfare, that has repercussions. I submitted a brief at one of my previous appearances, which has been distributed to you, where this is much more documented. You should know that poverty in a single family can affect up to 1,000 families. All of these people end up relying on assistance programs permanently when they shouldn't because of a situation in their lives that is only temporary. These people have lost hope.

Another point that is important to mention is the revenue shortfall. All those people who are offered last-resort programs and should not be in that situation are no longer paying taxes. It makes no sense. There are really additional costs associated with poverty.

A 2016 federal government report noted that socio-economic inequality in health imposes a direct economic burden on Canada of at least $6.2 billion every year. Of course, this is not just due to the 15‑week benefit limit, but that still accounts for a sizable portion, as such costs could be avoided.

So I don't understand that in Canada, in 2022, with all the steps that this campaign has taken, we are still at this point. I have met many people who have become friends, including Émilie and Louis Sansfaçon, and others, who were activists with me, but are now deceased. Will I be next? I don't know.

I find the situation inconceivable. So can we please put partisanship and politics aside? Could we really focus on this problem and allow people to get treatment?

Earlier, Mr. Sansfaçon said that medicine is getting better. Yes, people used to die, but now they survive. In fact, we can die with dignity, but do we have to get treated in mediocrity and poverty? Do we have to be condemned to go through things like I am still going through now?

It doesn't make sense that this is possible in Canada, in 2022. People are not getting treated. It took 51 years, 620,000 signatures and 14 bills to get to this point. I can't count the number of meetings I've attended to get a comma moved. So why do it the wrong way? If the act is limited to 26 weeks, do you think it will be possible to change that number afterwards? I would be very surprised if that happened.

That would be appalling. We have talked about long COVID. People who suffer from it really need to be able to get treatment. They will go back to work because employment insurance, which is taxable, is only 55% of their salary. So they are living on less than $7,000 or $8,000 for a year, while all the costs are skyrocketing. It makes no sense.

I would really like all these parameters to be taken into account and for us to come to an agreement. I've worked so much with the Liberals on this issue, so it is difficult to understand why we are still here. I think there is a duty to be consistent.

I know there are a number of new members, but it would be important to understand the scope of this campaign and what we have been doing. You need to be consistent for the people who elected you, for those who are sick, for the 620,000 people who signed the paper petition—yes, paper—across Canada.

So please be consistent. Let people get proper treatment and recover without all this stress that is totally inhumane.

Thank you.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Ms. Dubé.

Monsieur Bazin, you have five minutes.

4:55 p.m.

José Bazin Community organizer, Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal

Good afternoon.

I thank the members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities for allowing the Mouvement action-chômage de Montréal to give its opinion on Bill C‑215. I would first like to say that we are, obviously, in favour of the proposed amendments.

I will divide my five-minute speech into two parts. I would like to make it clear that I will be referring to the sections of the Employment Insurance Act that affect salaried workers. Of course, the same thinking applies to self-employed persons who pay into EI special benefits.

First, I would like to draw the committee's attention to subsection 12(6) of the Employment Insurance Act regarding the general stacking of benefits. Indeed, the amendment to paragraph 12(3)(c) of the act may unfortunately be ineffective for some claimants or, at the very least, may not have the intended effect.

Subsection 12(6) prevents claimants with at least one week of regular benefits from accumulating more than 50 weeks of benefits, all benefits combined. Thus, a claimant who has used regular EI benefits in his or her benefit period will not be able to receive the famous 52 weeks of sickness benefits if he or she becomes ill. The reverse is also true: a claimant who has used 52 weeks of sickness benefits and then loses his or her job will not be able to receive regular EI benefits, despite the fact that illness is one of the reasons for extending the qualifying period under subsection 8(2) of the act.

I would therefore invite the members of the committee to consider this issue, so that the amendment to paragraph 12(3)(c) does not leave a proportion of sick claimants without replacement income. Of course, the simplest way to deal with the perverse effect of subsection 12(6) is to simply repeal the entire section, which is a single sentence. Let us eliminate this sentence from the Employment Insurance Act and thus solve the problem of the general stacking of different EI special benefits after or before regular benefits. By adding the amendment to Bill C‑215 to repeal subsection 12(6) of the act, committee members will be able to correct a potential unfairness to a portion of the unemployed who become ill.

Second, while amending a part of the Employment Insurance Act concerning special benefits, in this case sickness benefits, I would invite the legislator to correct the inequity of the act towards women who have received maternity or parental benefits, or their equivalent from a provincial parental insurance plan. Mothers who have received maternity and parental benefits are left without replacement income if they lose their jobs without having worked a sufficient number of hours to requalify for regular benefits. Yet the federal government considered the situation worrisome enough to allow these mothers to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Recovery Benefit during the pandemic. In addition, on January 10, the Social Security Tribunal issued a decision stating that subsections 8(2), 8(5), 10(10) and 12(6) of the Employment Insurance Act violate the equality rights protected by section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I would therefore invite the members of the committee to amend Bill C‑215 to correct this violation of the right to equality. To do so, Parliament should amend subsections 8(2) and 10(10) by adding to each an additional ground for extending the qualifying period and the benefit period. For the record, there are already four grounds for extending the qualifying period and the benefit period. This amendment to subsections 8(2) and 10(10) would add a fifth ground.

This fifth ground for extension could simply be written as follows, obviously using the feminine: “She was receiving maternity or parental benefits or their equivalent from a provincial parental insurance plan”. In addition, Parliament should repeal subsection 8(5), as well as subsection 12(6), which I already mentioned in the first part of my statement.

I know that the second part of my intervention is a bit removed from what you are considering in Bill C‑215. Nevertheless, I preferred to talk about it.

With that, I thank the members of the committee for listening to the opinion of the Mouvement action-chômage de Montréal.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Mr. Bazin.

We will now open the floor to questions from committee members, beginning with Madam Ferreri for six minutes.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, everybody, for having me. This is my first time in HUMA.

Thank you to the witnesses here and to those who testified earlier today.

There's no denying how important this is. I think there's unanimous consent around how important this is. It's unfortunate that it hasn't been rolled out, and that it's taken this long a time, when there was promise it would happen.

Ms. Dubé, it was powerful to hear in your testimony that you were told it would happen, yet it hasn't.

This is absolutely necessary. It reminds me very much of maternity leave, quite frankly. It's very similar in terms of being able to be where you need to be, being covered for that and not having to worry about it.

Getting to the pragmatic side of things, my question is for Ms. Dubé.

Since you've dedicated so much of your life to this, how do you see funding this program? As you mentioned, it's costing more to keep it the way it is. It needs to be updated. It hasn't been updated since 1971.

Where do you see the government being able to account for the costs to cover this program?

5 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

In fact, this has already been demonstrated.

The study conducted by the Parliamentary Budget Officer clearly demonstrates that the program is able to pay for this. I remind you that these are workers' contributions. This year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has added a new part to his study that confirms it again. We can do it; it's a social choice.

The Canadian Cancer Society did a study on this and showed that almost 90% of Canadians agree with this. For someone with a take-home pay of $800, that equates to an average increase of about $24.96 a year. There has to be a social will.

How are we going to pay for that? Honestly, I think the money is already there. What is needed is the will. The feasibility has been demonstrated.

Sincerely, I have a very hard time explaining why I am here again today, since everyone has agreed on this since 2009. I don't have a more precise answer to give. Today, I implore you to do the right thing. Now that we know it can be done, it must be done.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Thank you, Madame Dubé. That's excellent.

You mentioned that you've spoken with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Immigration, and all the ministers. To your point about political will, have they given you a reason for the holdup or why you're still here, when, quite frankly, you shouldn't be?

5:05 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

Obviously, I shouldn't be appearing before your committee again. Honestly, I don't have an answer for you. I can never get a straight answer. Just yesterday, I was told again that they wanted to study the matter further and that they would do so gradually. Honestly, I find that as soon as a new government is elected, it changes its position. This is what I have concluded from the many steps I have taken. It is very sad, because we are really losing time. Meanwhile, every day, people are losing their homes or committing suicide. Some families are going to be impacted for the rest of their lives because they were a few weeks short.

I don't have an answer for you since no one has a really sensible answer for me. The government is just stalling by hiding behind procedures, behind the administration and behind this or that. Then something always comes up, like an election call. This is often the case. When there is an election, the bill dies on the order paper. Also, we are unlucky in the draw, as Mr. Gourde mentioned. We often get caught up in obstacles like that. With respect to Bill C‑215, it is true that it is well placed in the order of priority.

To sum up, I don't have a specific answer for you because no one has answered me satisfactorily. Yet the feasibility is there. It is now a question of will. In Canada, do we want people to treat themselves on the street? Do we want people to live on welfare and lose everything they have?

I have given over 400 interviews. I once collaborated on an article about a lady who had lost everything and was living in a campground with her 11‑year‑old boy so she could do her chemotherapy treatments. I worked on this article with the journalist Patrick Lagacé, who was outraged. There have been so many of these cases. Is this the Canada we want? Can we finally open our eyes and see that things are not going well? It's really not going well for people who are sick, people who have worked all their lives and who just want to go back to work.

We talked a lot about mental health earlier. Think of the effect this has on mental health. Do you think it helps people who are ill? People get depressed. Because of stress and many other things, people develop a host of complications that they wouldn't normally develop. Poverty sets in and children are affected and start having a lot of problems. This is what I call the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

The reasons I am given for refusing the extension of benefits are never satisfactory and never will be. Sometimes I find that they stumble over the costs. They say there is a risk of abuse, as if people decide for themselves how long they want to be off sick. Honestly, that never happens. This aspect is always supervised by a doctor. As we said, no one wants to depend on EI sickness benefits. Of course not! Getting only 55% of your salary means you are downright poor.

We need to stop using all these bad reasons. We really need to do the right thing. I can't believe I'm here again. I started this fight when I was 38 years old. I was born in 1971, the year the act was passed. Today I am 51 years old and I am still standing here. It's dreadful. I am going through this again and I am doing it for others. It's complete nonsense.

In your constituencies, you hear testimonies, but I hear these stories all the time. Over the years, a lot of times I've said to myself that I'm going to stop doing this, because nobody listens to me. I should say that people listen to me, but nothing happens. I am discouraged. I do this on a voluntary basis. I have never stopped because I have never stopped hearing the accounts of people who lose everything and end up on the street. It touches me so much that I continue. I keep going. I'm not with you today because my health doesn't allow me to, and it's really frustrating. I'm carrying on and I can't believe that I won't see this change. I can't believe that the government is just going to extend benefits for only 26 weeks. Indeed, we know—

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Ms. Dubé, unfortunately, I must interrupt you.

5:10 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

Yes. I'm done.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Ms. Martinez Ferrada, you now have the floor for six minutes.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

First, I thank Ms. Dubé for her testimony.

Ms. Dubé, this is the first time I have met you, even if only virtually. I wish your health had allowed you to be here with us today. I am grateful to the hybrid Parliament, which at least allows us to see you.

I wanted to give you the floor a little longer. You talked about the intergenerational transfer of poverty. Many of us have family members or know people who have been affected by serious illness. I'd like to give you the floor to talk more about the impact not only on you, but also on the family and on the caregivers. You were talking about mental health. How are the families around you and the families of people with serious illnesses doing?

I'd like to hear you talk more about the impact on patients and their families. How does this transmission of poverty happen?

5:10 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

It's a really difficult situation, one with consequences.

My children are now grown up. If I go back to when they were younger, our whole life was really changed. We couldn't do activities anymore. We did everything as little as possible. All the clothes we bought for the children were used. You didn't buy clothes for yourself anymore. It was a thousand things. You had to cut back on treatments to look after the children. Everything had to be done so that the children's lives would not be compromised. I think all parents do that.

I'll take this opportunity to digress. The Employment Insurance Act has been amended for parents of sick children. A mother who finds herself with a baby who has leukemia can take 35 weeks to care for the baby, which is wonderful. However, a mother like me who has leukemia, cancer, and children is only entitled to 15 weeks. Yet she has dependents. This is an aberration.

So yes, the repercussions are incredible. In my story, the only bit of luck I had was to have a house that's going to be mortgaged forever and remortgaged forever. I will never be able to have a nice retirement and enjoy it. Yes, it has an impact. It has a huge impact on my children. I would like to spoil them a bit, finally. I used to think that after all these years, one day I would be able to do that, but no, it's impossible to consider.

It also affects family. I had help, but I needed help over and over. When I was ill, GoFundMe didn't exist. People were doing workplace collections, things like that. It's a situation that has huge implications.

Also, having to be away and leave work creates isolation. It affects us a lot. When you're under a lot of stress, you try not to let it show too much in front of the children, and also in front of the family, because you don't want to bother people with your problems. It has a terrible impact on the family.

There is also intergenerational transmission. This is where children start to develop multiple problems, such as learning problems or psychological problems of all kinds and other difficulties. The children in turn enter an impossible system. There are families who will really end up in atrocious conditions.

When my children were young, I remember how difficult it was, trying to keep up with everything. The school collaborated. It's hard to try to keep it all together. It's the mothers, the parents, who suffer. The repercussions are enormous. All the energy put into this doesn't allow you to do the rest. I wanted to have a social life and I thought it would be good for me, but no, it wasn't possible.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Ms. Dubé, we are talking about extending employment insurance benefits. I'm actually glad to see that my colleagues in the Conservative Party are also in favour of extending them.

Besides extending EI benefits, how could the government better support families living with illness? Is there anything about health care and mental health?

5:15 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

Beyond EI benefits, it gets really specific.

Sometimes we hear that there are other programs that could be put in place. Honestly, at this level of detail, I don't know what to say. Perhaps the benefits should not be taxed, which incidentally do not take into account dependents. For example, one person may receive $8,000. For a single person, that's one thing, but the lady with three children gets the same amount. Maybe we should look at things like that.

I really focused on employment insurance and the fact that too many families are in poverty. That's the first door. Honestly, it's a really big fight. I haven't necessarily developed many other aspects. You have to start with that, have an adequate and really solid base that meets the needs.

Providing 26 weeks does not meet the needs at all.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Thank you, Ms. Dubé.

I congratulate you on the fight you have been waging for 13 years on this issue.

5:15 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

I know I don't have much time left.

Mr. Bazin, maybe we'll have a chance to talk again. You submitted a brief and you talked about the right to equality.

In 30 seconds, can you define what the right to equality in employment insurance benefits is? You've spoken to us about a lot of things, but I wanted to give you the last word in my question period.

5:15 p.m.

Community organizer, Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal

José Bazin

Absolutely.

Receiving EI benefits is the best thing for people who are sick, as it is relatively easy to access.

Earlier, we said that having a medical note allowed us to receive EI sickness benefits. Our fight is also to ensure that everyone has access to benefits, whether they are regular or special benefits. EI sickness benefits are special benefits. We must also ensure that we do not prevent the person receiving EI benefits from receiving EI sickness benefits.

Today, I want to make members of the committee aware of the following: if we do not do this job properly, it could lead to a perverse effect. It could result in some people not receiving EI sickness benefits. This could be the case even if we change the law, as proposed in Bill C‑215. Doing the job right is important.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Ms. Martinez Ferrada.

Ms. Chabot, you have six minutes.

October 17th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Dubé, thank you. Once again, I wish you courage and solidarity in your new fight. You have fought a long personal battle and a long battle to move things forward.

I would like to remind you that we are not talking about health insurance in general, but about a concrete element, namely Employment Insurance sickness benefits. This type of benefit is part of the EI program, and people who have accumulated 600 hours of work are eligible for it, but they can only receive 15 weeks of benefits. As I said earlier, it's quite a battle, and one that we've been fighting for a long time. Ms. Dubé, you are one of the great instigators of this battle.

I have counted the bills. Even today, we wonder what more is needed, on a rational level, to convince people. Emotionally, I think everyone recognizes that it doesn't make sense for people with more serious illnesses.

Ms. Dubé, according to the experts and the research, why isn't 26 weeks of benefits enough?

5:15 p.m.

Criminologist and Founder, 15 Weeks is not Enough Campaign, As an Individual

Marie-Hélène Dubé

It is true that everybody agrees on an emotional level. On a rational level, you have to provide numbers and describe the consequences. To start with, you have to tot up the costs associated with keeping the current law, instead of constantly asking how much it is going to cost to change it. This has already been proven. How much does intergenerational poverty cost? I touched upon this issue in my presentation. We have to ask these types of questions.

You have to make a choice between giving 20 extra weeks of benefits to the person, or making that person suffer all the consequences, like being on social assistance for 20 years, no longer paying taxes and not feeling like an active member of society. Moreover, there will be repercussions for the entire family. You have to take all these costs into account, because they exist.

Apart from the United States, Canada is the only G7 country that gives less than a year's worth of benefits. The majority of European countries offer benefits for a full year, a year and a half or two years. This is well documented: the countries that offer more coverage and treat their citizens struck by sickness with more respect come out as winners, whichever way you look at it. In Europe, there is the Centre des liaisons européennes et internationales de sécurité sociale.

Spain offers benefits for a period equal to one year plus six months, Ireland offers a benefit period of two years, Portugal makes benefits available for 1,095 days and Hungary offers a year's worth. Even South Africa has 52 weeks of benefits. What about Canada? We should look at what other countries are doing and check if it's working. And you know what? It's working.

In some countries, benefit amounts can be increased. To start with, a sick person can receive 55% of their wages. The sicker the person is, the more benefits they receive; up to 90% of wages. Only a small proportion of people are entitled to this amount, but they are the ones who need it the most in order to avoid becoming homeless.

We have to be open to such arguments and see what other countries are doing. We must stop limiting ourselves to only measuring the upfront costs. We have to look at the costs involved in keeping to the status quo, which are enormous. Then take into account the shortage of workers. It boggles the mind.

You have to give people time to get better. Afterwards, they can go back to work. Do you want to make all these people homeless? They might not ever be able to get back up on their feet again. They might decide that it is not worth it. We have to ask ourselves these questions and look at what other countries are doing. Let's look at the costs and decide if we will come out ahead in terms of economic results but also in human terms. People who are feeling better will be able to go back to work more quickly. They are going to be active members of society. They will enjoy better mental health because they won't be asking themselves how to fill their days, they will no longer be depressed and they won't have lost their jobs. We have to tailor the system to their needs.

We should look at all the factors, even those that we don't often take into consideration. The technical details are extremely important. There are other important factors apart from feasibility.