Employment Insurance in Canada hits rock bottom

To mark the first contributions made to the unemployment insurance fund more than 73 years ago (July 1, 1941), the Public Service Alliance of Canada is launching “Employment Insurance in Canada: Hitting Rock Bottom”, a short animated video on the decline of the EI program over the last 25 years.

“Since the 1990’s, the Employment Insurance Program has been decimated by successive Liberal and Conservative governments to the point where it no longer fulfills its mission to protect Canadian workers from the hardship of unemployment,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC national president.

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People’s Social Forum

At the People’s Social Forum in Ottawa, being held from August 21 – 24,  Winnie Ng and John Humphrey from Good Jobs for All EI Working Group will be making presentations on the Toronto impacts of the Harper Conservatives EI cuts on August 22. If you are going, please join in. 

 

SCRAP THE EI CHANGES

Join us for E.I. in formation Leafleting:   2 dates

Action 1:   Saturday, June 21 @10:00 a.m., at Scarborough Town Centre.  We will meet at 10:00 a.m. at Service Canada Offices near the Town Centre.  Park by Cineplex Cinema, though food court to subway exit and Service Canada.

Action 2:  Wednesday, June 25 @ 3:30 p.m., at Kennedy Subway station.  We will meet at 3:30 at West Scarborough Community Legal Services in Suite 201 at 2425 Eglinton East, near Kennedy.  Parking – southeast corner lot at Kennedy and Eglinton.

For more info contact – Judy Persad at Good Jobs for All Coalition at 416.441.3663 ext 224 or jpersad@labourcouncil.ca

Joint Statement by Community and Labour Groups

Concerning Federal Changes to Employment Insurance

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To the Prime Minister of Canada:

Our unemployment insurance program has served this country well since 1940. When the Great Depression gave rise to mass unemployment and large public demonstrations, workers demanded a program of unemployment insurance to address the obvious, painful need. They were supported by mayors, business leaders and others who understood how important an income replacement program was for families trying to weather bad times and for communities trying to maintain economic stability. The program has continued this vital role in the decades since and especially during periods of economic crisis.

It is deeply disturbing to watch your government now make such destructive, harmful changes to our EI program. There is no excuse for such unilateral action. The people directly concerned have not given their agreement or even been consulted. Since 1990 workers and employers have entirely funded the UI/EI program without any government contributions. What’s more, between 1994 and 2009, the funds of the EI program were used for other purposes than the protection of workers; those funds should be restored.

We are united in calling on your government to Scrap the EI Changes!

We believe that:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes our fundamental human right to economic supports in case of unemployment as well as the freedom to choose our own employment;
  • Unemployment is an economic and social phenomenon. It requires a collective response;
  • Unemployed workers have a right to a fair and worker-friendly appeal system when contesting EI Commission decisions;
  • EI requires improvements that improve access, duration and benefit levels. Less than 40% of unemployed people are now collecting EI benefits.

We say NO to:

  • the impoverishment of workers and degradation of working conditions;
  • changes which are not necessary or desirable, and for which no impact studies have been provided;
  • new rules that reinforce the myth that Canadians do not wish to work and abuse the system when they are unemployed. In fact, fewer than a third collect the total benefits to which they are entitled;
  • the attack on communities throughout Canada especially rural communities and those which rely on seasonal industries;
  • the erosion of coverage for people without full-time, full-year employment. Temporary, part-time and migrant jobs mean insecure, erratic employment, especially for aboriginal workers and workers of colour, women and youth.
  • an obligation to accept work regardless of training, experience or willingness;
  • the focus on individual rather than collective responses to unemployment;
  • intimidation, surveillance and intrusion into our private lives;
  • a new Social Security Tribunal which will gravely restrain access to justice;
  • the attempt to dismantle our EI social insurance program by stealth.

We seek Employment Insurance reforms that benefit workers and their
communities. We therefore urge the PARLIAMENT of Canada to:

  1. Rescind all 2012 and 2013 Budget measures related to EI.
  2. Improve EI benefits:
    • Improve access by reducing qualifying hours in all regions to the lesser of 360 hours or 13 weeks.
    • Increase duration to at least 50 weeks in all regions. Provide a Special Extension when unemployment exceeds 6.5%, paid from federal general revenues.
    • Increase benefits to at least 60% of earnings using workers’ 12 best weeks. Raise the maximum benefit. And eliminate severance pay allocations and the 2 week waiting period.
    • Provide EI income benefits so long as workers are in approved training.
    • Expand supports for work-sharing arrangements under EI to reduce layoffs, and build links between work-sharing and training.
  3. Provide Temporary Foreign Workers with meaningful EI entitlements.

Download PDF in English | French | Endorsements

Scrap the changes – Fix EI

At the Toronto Labour Day parade, Good Jobs for All members distributed 2000 flyers and got over 200 signatures on a petition to stop the Harper government’s changes to the Employment Insurance program.   If you didn’t sign the petition or get a flyer, and need information, please ‘read more’.

Many more jobs in Canada are temporary, part-time and many Canadian cities and communities have still not recovered from the recession.  As many  of the marchers in the Toronto Labour Day Parade said “We all pay into Employment Insurance, and we need to be able to depend upon it when we need it!“

Good Jobs for All has been fighting to change Employment Insurance since 2009]  Because of the work of committed activists, EI was extended in 2009, but then the Harper Government decided to try to gut the program.   Right now premiers across Canada are speaking out against the EI Changes and the Canada Jobs Grant. Work in Canada is changing, and too many people are not able to collect Employment Insurance when they need it.   Join us and let’s fight to fix Employment Insurance

Contact info@goodjobsforall.ca if you know someone who has been cut from the EI program or needs help collecting EI and if you want to join this campaign.

FixEI

Ask Ontario By-election Candidates a Question

Elected Provincial Leaders Need to Get on Board!

Community and labour groups warned that Ottawa’s new E.I. CHANGES are dangerous and should be SCRAPPED. The Premiers of Quebec and the 4 Atlantic provinces have called for a moratorium on the changes and launched a review of the impact on their province. Where’s Ontario?

Which provinces have the most people in new EI categories that will be hard hit by rules requiring them to look for jobs paying 20-30% less, outside their occupation and commuting an hour – after just 6 weeks of layoff? Not the Atlantic provinces, but Quebec and Ontario.

According to the federal EI Monitoring Report, 70% of Ontario EI claimants fall into the new categories, over ¼ million workers. No one’s immune to this cheap labour agenda, whether they work in manufacturing, construction or public and private services like educational staff and hotels – jobs you’ll find in every town.

Did you know there are other EI changes like a total re-write of the appeal system, making it more difficult to get justice if you’re unfairly denied EI? To learn more about these changes, go to www.goodjobsforall.ca where you can also print a petition calling on Parliament for better EI access and real improvements.

Ask Ontario By-election Candidates a Question

Do you agree that Premier Wynne should join the premiers of the 4 Atlantic provinces and Quebec in calling for a moratorium on the new EI changes? And launch public hearings to investigate their impact on Ontario?

Download PDF

A community-labour coalition