OFFICIAL OPPOSITION: Islanders needing post-Fiona financial assistance are facing a nightmare to just get the basic help they need

More than two weeks post-Fiona and Islanders are facing a financial crisis and ever-increasing anxiety to have just their basic needs met.

“This has been a colossal failure on the part of the King government to get financial help to Islanders impacted by post tropical storm Fiona,” said Hannah Bell, Official Opposition Green Critic for Finance. “Our caucus is being inundated by calls from anxious, frustrated Islanders who are having to jump through numerous – and seemingly random – hoops to access the $250 promised by the Premier.”

To try and get this money quickly into the hands of Islanders impacted, the King government has contracted with the Canadian Red Cross to administer the $250 Fiona financial relief program. This help can be for any expense and no receipts or proof of loss is required. You just need to confirm your name, address, and birthdate. While this seems to be easy enough, for some reason the process to access these emergency dollars is complicated and frustrating.

 

“It seems the King government has failed to provide the Canadian Red Cross with the necessary support to verify Islanders’ applications in a timely fashion,” said Bell. “This failure means many Islanders are either being denied without reason or having to travel long distances and spend long hours in one of two province-wide locations to try and apply for this help.”

“Islanders are calling our office, frustrated and upset over having driven hours to go to a registration centre in Charlottetown, spending $30 in fuel for the round trip, only to be told that the Canadian Red Cross has already met its quota for the day and would not be accepting any more in-person applications. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

The provincial government possesses basic information about Islanders—for example, information contained in the database of licensed drivers—that could be used to speed up the verification process and get money into the hands of Islanders who need it. It is unclear whether this government has taken any steps to assist the Red Cross to quickly verify applications for assistance. Currently, the Red Cross can only process 120 people in person a day.

“I am calling on Premier King and the PCs to get their act together and provide support to its partner, the Canadian Red Cross. This Government should be ashamed of how it has left Islanders in the lurch and how it has set up its valued community partner to fail.”