For Immediate Release Wednesday Sep. 23

The Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling on MPs to support the passage of the private members’ bill, C-308, which aims to expand and improve Canada’s EI program.  Bill C-308 comes to a final House of Commons vote on Wednesday.

Key provisions in Bill C-308 include: reducing the minimum EI qualifying hours to 360 in all regions of Canada; increasing the number of benefit weeks in all regions; and increasing the weekly benefit rate to 60% of previous earnings.

“Unemployment in Toronto rose again in August which means more workers are unemployed, more families are struggling to balance rising expenses, and more Torontonians are worrying about an uncertain future,” says Winnie Ng, co-chair of the Good Jobs for All Coalition.

“With Bill C-308 we have an opportunity to fix Employment Insurance and do a better job at providing support to taxpaying Canadians living in a time of precarious employment and economic volatility,” says John Cartwright, president of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.  “It’s time for MPs to vote for what’s right and decent for taxpaying Canadians.”

On September 11, 2010, the Harper government chose to end the EI extension program, which grants an extra five weeks of EI payments to eligible people.

The current EI system provides only half the coverage for Torontonians than it did in Canada’s last recession – because fewer workers qualify and benefit weeks have been reduced. In 1990, 59% of unemployed workers in the Greater Toronto Area received EI.  In 2008, however, only 23% of workers in this region were receiving EI.

Over the past decade, people in Canada have paid more into the EI fund then they get back.  The EI fund surplus held by the Canadian Government was $57 billion ($56,952,606,000) as of March 31, 2008.

Contact: Jessica Bell,, 416 937 0076.