Blast from the past

Almost 12 years ago I and many, many others were displaced from their jobs in nursing homes and hospitals across the province.

Editor:

Almost 12 years ago I and many, many others were displaced from their jobs in nursing homes and hospitals across the province. It came, it passed, and life went on, as it always does.

We found different ways of surviving and life became somewhat good again.

About two weeks ago I received a letter from Canada Revenue/EI Insurance. Enclosed was a bill for $719 in back taxes/back pay. What do you know, after all this time our sweet government is back at me wanting the money they had given me as a settlement after they were found guilty of ripping up our contract. Mine is a very small amount as I have not really worked much these past 12 years, but I know some people that have been slammed with thousands of dollars. It actually got me upset all over again. I have spent days phoning many people, Revenue Canada, was referred to EI, and I can’t get through to them at all, no matter what time of the day I call, heck you can’t even get in the queue. So I phoned the union. I was told that there was nothing they could do, but I could phone EI and ask for a Hardship Kit, so I did that it’s just not an option at all unless you have your cell, your other phone and your husband’s phone!

Today I went to the EI office and was told once again it was a matter for Canada Revenue. I explained that I had already contacted Canada Revenue and that now I was here to actually talk to someone. My information was taken, I was told it would take about 30-45 minutes of waiting — that sure beats two weeks of phone tag and wait games! My turn came and I was shown in by my “person”, a young man. It seemed that was all he was doing (sorry, but I was thinking about my tax dollars). The lady was very nice but could not help me. She said my problem must be from when I was displaced and had received benefits while I still had my severance pay from my lost job. I assured her this was not so, as it took a long time before any benefits kicked in.

I did mention that I thought it was the settlement we were given as a payoff for our jobs. She seemed to think it was more recent, so therefore I must have received benefits since then.

No I did not. I have not worked anywhere at all since 2008 and all I ever worked was a few part time jobs at minimum wages, and I finally just retired. I mentioned the Hardship Kit and she looked at me like what is that? I was told there was a number on the back of my letter that I could phone and make payment arrangements. Not so fast! I am not paying unless I know for sure why this has come back to haunt me after 12 years. She offered to send off a message to someone at Revenue Canada or an EI higher up and have them send me a letter explaining what the reasons were for the back taxes, or back pay. Well, at least I bought a little time.

This is just another way for the government to get back at us for something we never had any say in in the first place.

Hanne Reid, Aldergrove