Madam Speaker, on January 17 a record-breaking blizzard hit Newfoundland and Labrador. The storm shut down many communities, including in the St. John's area, where the state of emergency lasted eight days. Under state of emergency laws, businesses were legally prevented from opening and streets were closed to traffic, preventing people from working. Many low-income workers lost up to a week's income, leaving people struggling to pay for rent and utilities. Lost revenue also hurt small businesses and restaurants.
The federal disaster assistance program supports provinces dealing with large-scale natural disasters, but specifically excludes loss of income.
We need the government to act now to allocate resources to support the people and businesses suffering the consequences of this storm and to look at establishing a permanent program to address lost income. The effects of climate change could lead to many more disasters of this magnitude and worse in the years to come.
Those who can least afford to endure the loss of income should not be the ones forced to bear it. If there is no existing program—