Building a New Unemployment Insurance System
Among other things, COVID-19 put a spotlight on long-standing shortcomings of Canada’s EI system. Good Jobs for All’s EI Working Group worked hard to address the immediate needs of workers affected by the health and economic crisis (see April 13 and March 9 postings).
Now, the Working Group has identified proposals for rebuilding EI in the immediate and longer term. These include:
- Waiving qualifying hours
- Eliminating disqualification for those who quit “voluntarily” during the pandemic
- Adjusting Work Sharing as a tool for a phased return to work
- EI and EI-CERB costs must be assigned to general revenues, not EI
- Many more elements
Please read Building a New Unemployment Insurance System for details.
Support the call for change! Write to your MP; the Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion; and to the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
GJFA’s EI Working Group
Good Jobs For All’s EI Working Group has worked hard to shape Canada’s approach to supporting workers affected by the pandemic. The EI Working Group, along with partners such as West Scarborough Community Legal Services, was responsible for many recent victories regarding income support by the federal government including the following:
- Waiving the one week waiting period for people collecting EI Sick Benefits
- Removing the requirement for a medical note
- Creating a new benefit for those who are ineligible for EI, including workers without enough hours (called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or CERB)
- Setting a higher rate for the CERB
- Reducing complexity
- Speeding up the application and payment processes
For information about applying for the CERB visit canada.ca
To help people navigate through the system as well as deal with other COVID-19 issues, take a look at the following documents and YouTube videos from West Scarborough Community Legal Services (and subscribe to the channel so you get information about new videos):
Labour Council also has related information on its website:
Good Jobs For All joined over 100 organizations calling on Ontario’s government to ensure adequate income support for low-income Ontarians during this crisis.
Read the letter here.
GJFA has made a submission to Waterfront Toronto during the recent round of consultations on Sidewalk’s proposal for the Quayside project. The submission, prepared by GJFA’s Sub-Committee, notes that Waterfront’s Quayside project will be built in a post-COVID world, a world struggling to recover from the grip of a major health, social and economic crisis.
The Sub-Committee importantly pointed out that Quayside will now be a testbed for the lessons that we are learning in this pandemic about community life and the importance of active government policy, public services, social programs and mutual support. Quayside will need to sketch out the contours of a post-COVID city. To achieve that goal requires a different starting point and a different plan than the one provided by Sidewalk Labs.
It is a great read! Take a look at the submission here.
The Good Jobs for All Coalition is collaborating with others to improve access to EI Benefits by working Canadians. See the letters below for more information:
Public meeting asking elected leaders to challenge Waterfront Toronto’s deal with Google.
Wednesday, February 26
6:30 to 8:00 pm
St. Paul’s church
227 Bloor St. E., Toronto
GJFA Speaks Out On Sidewalk Labs
GJFA’s October 2019 forum on Sidewalk Labs’ proposal for developing part of Toronto’s lakefront was filled to capacity. GJFA sent a letter outlining wide-ranging concerns and conditions for consideration as Waterfront Toronto decides on October 31st whether and how to proceed.
See letter here.
A Critical Primer on Sidewalk Labs
This primer, a work in progress, is an educational and discussion piece pointing to some of the fundamental issues raised by the Sidewalk Labs (Google) plan for 200 acres on the Toronto Waterfront. A plan which proposes fundamental changes to city governance and data collection, changes that could affect all of us who live in the city.
See David Robertson’s “Ten Reasons to say no: A Primer on Sidewalk Labs’ Plan for the Waterfront.”
Something’s Really Wrong with Workers’ E.I. Safety Net
We Need to Fix EI!
Here are some questions to ask Federal election candidates.
- We need to start paying attention to the huge cracks in our EI system – or pay the price with the next economic slowdown or recession.
- Politicians may focus on EI parental or seasonal benefits but the main job of EI is to provide income security when we’re laid off or lose a job.
We pay weekly EI premiums so the safety net’s there when we need it.
- EI rules are too harsh, especially for those in part-time and temporary jobs.
Download PDF flyer and questions.
Last Friday, 25 million people worldwide marched for climate action, and this Friday, tens of thousands are expected to march in Canada. It’s never been clearer that people from all walks of life want immediate, meaningful action to drastically reduce greenhouse gases.
It is well past time for Toronto to declare a climate emergency. Dozens of Ontario municipalities like Ottawa, London, and Sudbury have formally acknowledged the urgency of the climate crisis. Toronto has not. Yet.
Climate change is the key issue of our time. While it is incumbent on all individuals, corporations, and governments to do more, Toronto is uniquely positioned to “think globally, act locally.” As Canada’s largest city and North America’s fourth largest municipality, Toronto must act responsibly, even ambitiously, in this critical fight.