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Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors facility, in North Vancouver, on March 14, 2020.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Your own backyard

Re Canadian Factories Retool To Meet Demands Of Pandemic (Report on Business, March 30): Last week, my son-in-law, an emergency doctor at two local hospitals, texted me for help. Would I be able to help secure any N95 masks and face shields for the staff?

I immediately contacted local businesses and members of our Mennonite agricultural community. By the next morning, I collected almost 600 masks, 12 face shields and four litres of hand sanitizer – all within 10 kilometres of my home.

There are many times in life when the help a community needs is right out one’s back door. We should all help our health-care workers help us!

Bruce Finn Elmira, Ont.

MAID interrupted

Re Medical Assistance In Dying Services Being Cancelled In Ottawa, Hamilton Areas (March 28): I believe it is illogical, counterproductive and cruel for hospitals in Ottawa and Hamilton to suspend medical assistance in dying as a response to COVID-19.

Patients who have struggled to reach the determination to end their lives with MAID, based on current suffering, are also typically significant users of health-care resources. Denying these patients of their human rights can only add anxiety to their pain and suffering, while also seeming to do little if anything to benefit future COVID-19 patients.

Ricarda McFalls Ottawa

Seniors and ageism

Re COVID-19 Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Gone Viral. Ageism Has, Too (Opinion, March 28): My mother is a resilient spirit; she is known as being grateful for what she has. However, now there is a case of COVID-19 in her nursing home.

When she became profoundly hard of hearing, she became an avid reader, memoir writer and painter. After becoming legally blind, she looked forward to chatting with tablemates and participating in activities; she found joy in visits with many relatives, including her great-grandchildren.

The staff are professional, kind and caring. They call families daily and are working hard to contain the virus. But with the absence of socialization, my mother now sits alone, in her room, waiting for meals to be delivered on disposable paper plates.

Contributors Nathan Stall and Samir Sinha ask if we will be “remembered for our callous disregard and self-interest? Or will we be recognized for supporting all Canadians?” My mother is only one example. I suggest that young students, now at home, find ways to connect with isolated seniors.

Nanci Goldman Toronto

Contributors Nathan Stall and Samir Sinha admonish younger Canadians for not doing enough, soon enough, during this pandemic. They state that “many older Canadians are justifiably scared right now.” However, I also find that many older Canadians are unjustifiably unafraid.

While non-compliance on travel and social distancing among young people has been widely publicized, many of them have also pleaded desperately with their vulnerable parents to cancel coffee dates, church services and travel plans. Non-compliance among the young is more visible by virtue of their more active, more gregarious lifestyles.

In reality, however, scofflaws seem to exist in every demographic, putting us all at risk. If we must point fingers, let’s point them at those who ignore government directives, regardless of age.

Richard Hedley Edmonton

I am almost 70 and a colleague of contributors Nathan Stall and Samir Sinha. I want to note that they have behaved toward me as one would hope everybody should behave in these times.

They, along with my other quite young colleagues, spontaneously requested that I not put myself at risk and that I replace direct patient care with virtual care. They did this despite realizing their personal risk would be increased!

Barry Goldlist Staff physician, University Health Network and Sinai Health System; Toronto

Seniors and money

Re The COVID-19 Response Isn’t Doing Enough For Seniors (Report on Business, March 27): As a senior with an RRIF, I find it unreasonable for contributor Tim Cestnick to propose that the government eliminate RRIF withdrawal requirements for 2020.

The golden rule I have found for RRIFs is to hold one or two years of mandatory future withdrawals in GICs or similar instruments that cannot suffer capital losses. Those who have not followed this rule should have only themselves, or their advisers, to blame. If they now have to cash in some of their equities or bonds to meet this year’s withdrawal requirement, then they are still miles ahead thanks to the bull market that has roared for the past decade.

Government resources would be far better devoted to those who really need and deserve help, including the many seniors who may not even have an RRIF.

Robert Scott Toronto

Seniors are getting hit by a double whammy: Health-wise, they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and on top of that, the government requires them to sell stocks at ever-increasing losses to satisfy what seem to be arbitrary mandatory amounts.

Will the government lose tax income if it eliminates mandatory RRIF withdrawals for 2020? No – all that money will be taxed whether it is withdrawn now or later. Why not give seniors much-needed help? The government should eliminate mandatory withdrawals for 2020, and adjust the minimum amount for 2021 taking into account market conditions.

Michael Plumb Calgary

Future prospects

Re For University Students, High Anxiety As Coronavirus Decimates Job Market (Report on Business, March 30): I’m thinking of all those students now scrambling to finish courses and manage finances, whose convocations have been cancelled, whose job prospects are now clouded by a recession. Let’s avoid the adverse impact of previous recessions and develop incentives for employers who hire recent graduates.

The outcomes: Employers get the youthful energy and skills of a new generation; graduates can start careers for which they’ve prepared; our economy benefits.

Val Bachynsky Halifax

Token of appreciation

Re Essential Workers Receiving Temporary Pay Boosts (Report on Business, March 25): If the public would like to show their appreciation to all those nurses and doctors who are the true heroes during this pandemic, they should ask the government to forgive any outstanding student loans accrued in order to be in the medical profession.

Steven Edwards Aylmer, Ont.

My wish list

Re As Online Orders Surge, Grocers Struggle To Deliver (Report on Business, March 27): A very old joke.

A rural gentleman writes to Eaton’s: “Please send me 10 rolls of toilet paper.”

He receives a reply: “Please quote the catalogue number when ordering items.”

To which he replies: “If I had the catalogue, I wouldn’t need the toilet paper.”

Bob Paradis Orleans, Ont.

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