Is the sex trade getting a bailout?
According to Poliwoops.com, a site that captures deleted tweets from politicians, Sunday night, Liberal MP Hedy Fry tweeted and then deleted a tweet suggesting federal COVID19 income supports would be extended to people engaged in the oldest profession but who do not file taxes:
“Many sex-trade workers fell through the cracks at the start of the pandemic. Now many more are eligible to apply for the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). All Canadians deserve to be protected. #SexWorkIsRealWork"
In her tweet, Fry linked to a CBC article headlined “For Canadian sex workers, CERB was a lifeline — if they could get it”. The report details the struggles of “sex workers” who, because they had not filed income taxes on their sex trade income, could not qualify for Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB program, administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, provided $2000 per month in COVID19 income supports to those who earned $5000 or more in 2019 and who had not quit their job voluntarily.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) replaces CERB through to September 2021.
In a May 13 op-ed penned by Fry in the Georgia Straight, the MP for Vancouver Center appeared to hint at an expanded Federal CERB-type program to cover even more Canadians engaged in prostitution:
One of the groups with no income, no access to resources, precariously housed, and food insecure, and who are forced at this time of pandemic to work in risky situations in order to survive, are workers in the sex trade.
Most are not eligible for CERB, CEWS, grants, and rent assistance.
They fear evictions. They need rent and income supports.
This is not a partisan issue. This is not a moral issue. This is about public health, ensuring those who participate in sex work—like any other worker—is safe, healthy, and supported.
Whether it’s seniors, students, small businesses, sex workers, or LGBTQ2+ communities—we’re here for you, we’re listening to you, and we’re adapting our policies to ensure you’re supported during this pandemic.
Outside of Vancouver-Centre, Fry is best known for making eyebrow-raising claims. In 2001, while serving as Secretary of State for multiculturalism, Fry alleged that a Northern BC community was a hotbed of KKK-type racism.
"You can just go to British Columbia in Prince George where crosses are being burned on lawns as we speak."
Fry also claimed that the mayor of Prince George wrote a letter to her about the cross-burning incident. Prince George City Hall denied the existence of the letter and Fry later apologized to the people of Prince George.