After a surge in demand this spring and summer, food banks and other food networks are preparing for a possible second wave of COVID-19 and a corresponding rise in need.

But not everyone agrees on what kind of response is best.

Dan Huang-Taylor, executive director at Food Banks BC, said he expects another surge soon, and food banks are planning how to operate in unfavourable conditions. Many locations will set up tents and outdoor heaters and introduce ticketing and appointment systems, he said.

Collingwood’s council is using some of its COVID-relief contingency fund to help pay for a study looking into the feasibility of a permanent homeless shelter in the area.

The study was proposed by Collingwood’s Out of the Cold task force, which launched an emergency overnight shelter in December. At the time, the task force said the temporary shelter service would be a three-year pilot project.

Winnipeg Centre’s NDP MP, Leah Gazan, wants to convert the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) into a permanent basic income that will benefit many groups, such as people who are unemployed, families with low, moderate and fixed incomes, people with disabilities, the working poor and others. She has a motion to put before Parliament.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated that we do have the resources,” she told Global News on Aug. 16. “We must ensure all individuals in Canada can thrive in dignity and that means making investments to ensure basic human rights for all. Motion 46’s goal is to fill the gaps in income and inequalities that have been worsened by the pandemic.”

Canada’s long-criticized social assistance programs may be getting a massive overhaul, according to a report from Reuters. Sources told the media network that with a new federal finance minister in place, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning sweeping changes to Canada’s social welfare systems as part of a pandemic recovery program.

Bill Morneau, the country’s fiscally conservative former finance minister, announced he was resigning on Monday. Sources told VICE News that there was a growing rift between the men over Trudeau’s COVID-19 spending programs. Trudeau replaced him with his Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, largely considered to be more progressive than Morneau. She’s now holding down both jobs.

We need a long-term, national basic income project in Canada. And effectively, we’ve had one since March, when the federal Liberals implemented the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. With some 8.4 million workers receiving CERB, millions of parents receiving the Canada Child Benefit, millions of seniors receiving a public pension, plus some 1.2 million Canadians on social assistance, the overwhelming majority of Canadian adults are now receiving some form of monthly government support.

CERB has been monumentally successful, and it’s proved that basic income works. It has stabilized the economy and prevented the worst-case scenario of a full economic collapse this spring. A basic income provides a slab of granite beneath every household income, and it keeps consumers consuming. In Spain, government officials have pledged to make their version of CERB permanent.

We have all encountered the dark outlines of the crisis facing us by now. Everywhere there are warnings of mass unemployment unseen in decades, already vulnerable workers—young, racialized, women—hit hardest, entire industries at risk, a looming wave of evictions and foreclosures.

None of this is inevitable. That is the message we should be encountering more often.

Instead, we still too frequently hear warnings about deficits and debt, about excessive generosity today and bills coming due tomorrow.