June 26th, 2020

Burrill: Government should provide support for grieving families

HALIFAX -- In the wake of the pandemic, the NDP is calling on the McNeil Liberals to rebate the provincial portion of the HST for funeral expenses for families in recognition of their hardship. The rebate would mean at least a few hundred dollars for each family.

“Families who have lost loved ones since the outset of the gathering restrictions have borne the added burden of forgoing a memorial service in order to protect the health of the people of the province. This is a sacrifice which should be acknowledged,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Acknowledgement and support from the province, in this modest way, would be a meaningful and helpful gesture.”

The government announced today that for funerals and other events, people can now gather in groups of up to 250 for outdoor events and 200 for indoor events.

Nova Scotia should also take this moment to create paid bereavement leave provisions as part of the Labour Standards Code. Provincial civil service employees receive up to five consecutive paid days leave in the event of an immediate family member’s death.

“This is a time in which people will potentially need to attend memorials and deal with losses they’ve experienced during the months in which gatherings were restricted,” said Burrill. “Workers shouldn’t have to balance between grieving and losing a day's pay."

Employees in federally regulated workplaces are entitled to three paid bereavement days. PEI and Newfoundland give all workers one day paid bereavement leave. And in Quebec, employees get one paid day for the death of a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.