Make Real EI Improvements!
TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS:
WHEREAS the government is driving a cheap labour agenda with new lower wage standards for Canada’s unemployed, undermining the wages of all workers and failing to put quality jobs at the heart of the country’s labour market strategies;
WHEREAS recent EI changes require 75% of claimants to accept jobs outside their usual occupation and paying 20 to 30% less after only 6 weeks of job search; give the Minister unilateral powers to dictate EI regulations; remove basic principles of fairness in the appeal process and other changes detrimental to workers and their communities;
WHEREAS EI has been weakened to the point where fewer than half of the unemployed receive EI at any given time because fewer workers qualify and benefit weeks are reduced. Yet a healthy EI system is the most powerful of all economic stabilizers, reducing the shock of job and GDP losses during downturns.
WHEREAS Ottawa stopped contributing to EI in 1990 but siphoned off $55 Billion of a $57 Billion surplus in premiums accumulated by 2009 instead of improving benefits;
WE URGENTLY PETITION PARLIAMENT to introduce these changes to Employment Insurance. We fund EI and we expect it to be there when we need it.
1. Rescind all 2012 and 2013 Budget measures related to Employment Insurance.
2. Provide Temporary Foreign Workers with meaningful EI entitlements.
3. Improve EI benefits:
- Increase access by reducing qualifying hours to 360 hours in all regions of Canada.
- Increase duration to at least 50 weeks in all regions and provide a Special 52 week Extension when national unemployment exceeds 6.5%, paid from federal general revenues. Provide EI income benefits so long as workers are in approved training.
- Increase EI to at least 60% of earnings using workers’ 12 best weeks. Raise the maximum benefit. Eliminate severance pay allocations and 2 week waiting period.
Prezi presentation: “EI Changes”
New EI rules will create three classes of unemployed…
Here’s a new one-page PDF poster: “Changes to Employment Insurance”
And a new 2-page report from the CLC: “The Cost of Falling EI Coverage”
Click for the the Good Jobs For All “Fix Employment Insurance” resources:
‘Scrap the EI Changes’ petition
‘Take Action on EI’ flyer
EI Presentation (Prezi)
BUILDING A MOVEMENT AGAINST EI CUTS
The Good Jobs for All Coalition launched its campaign against the EI cuts at a packed forum on June 20th. For everyone who came out to the event, it became obvious that people in greater Toronto need to start fighting to defend what is left of this vital social safety net. Only 1 in 5 unemployed Torontonians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits at any given time last year and the recent changes by the Conservative government will only make matters worse.
The new EI rules require 75% of EI claimants to accept work at a 20-30% pay cut, in a job outside their current profession, after just six weeks of job search. “Those changes will further erode our confidence in the safety net long considered one of the keystones of Canadian democracy” explained Tam Goossen, co-chair of the Good Jobs for All coalition and moderator of the forum.
The evening began with a panel of speakers from Toronto, Quebec and New Brunswick, including Kenny Hoosein, Steelworkers Job Action Centre, Armine Yalnizyan, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Patrick Rondeau, Conseiller regional Federation des travailleurs et des travailleuses and Daniel Legere, New Brunswick Scrap the Changes Resource Committee. Kenny spoke passionately of the experience of unemployed workers, while Armine provided a broad analysis and historical perspective of EI. Patrick and Daniel shared their experiences in organizing huge rallies in their communities, and called on Torontonians to build mass support to restore EI for all jobless workers.
Following the panel the audience of community and union members spoke of their experiences with EI and the need to Stop the Changes and Fix EI, so all unemployed workers have access to an insurance that they pay into – an insurance to take them through the challenging times between jobs.
Stay tuned on how you can become a part of this important campaign to build a movement against the EI cuts. For more information please take a look at “The Cost of Falling EI Coverage” and “Fix Employment Insurance.”
PDF version of Teachin-report
Join Us for a Special E.I. Teach-In!
- What’s driving low-wage work in Canada? How does it affect all of us? Are there alternatives?
- What’s the impact of EI changes on the unemployed, younger workers and workers in precarious jobs? What’s their response?
Hear from guest speakers:
- Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
- Special guests Patrick Rondeau, Conseiller régional Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses from Quebec and Daniel Legere, CUPE rep, New Brunswick Scrap the Changes Resource Committee
- Workers impacted by the EI changes
- Q & A to follow
Thursday, June 20, 2013
7 to 9 p.m.
Ryerson Student Centre (Tecumseh Auditorium)
55 Gould Street, Toronto (east of Yonge, north of Dundas E)
Dundas subway stop or municipal parking at Dundas & Victoria
Joignez-nous pour un atelier spécial sur l’assurance-emploi
- Quel est le motif derrière le travail au rabais au Canada? Quel est l’effet sur nous tous? Y-a-til des alternatives?
- Quel est l’impact des changements dans l’assurance-emploi sur les chô meurs, les jeunes et les tavailleurs précaires? Quelle est leur réponse?
- Armine Yalnizyan, economiste senior, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
- Des invités spéciaux de Quebec – Patrick Rondeau, Conseiller régional Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses et de Nouveau Brunswick – Daniel Legere, Nouveau Brunswick Comité Resource pour l’abandon des changements
- Travailleurs et travailleuses affectées par les réformes de l’assurance-emploi
- Questions et Réponses
Jeudi, 20 juin 2013
De 19:00 à 21:00
Ryerson Student Centre (Tecumseh Auditorium)
55 Gould Street, Toronto
Scrap the EI Changes!
On behalf of the Good Jobs for All Coalition, representing more than 30 community and labour organizations in the Greater Toronto Area, we extend our solidarity to the thousands of demonstrators in Montreal, Edmundston and elsewhere who are protesting the Harper government’s assault on our hard-won Employment Insurance rights. We join with you in calling upon the government to “Scrap the EI Changes!”
This is not just an issue for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. The devastation of the EI changes will be felt across Canada, in many sectors and in big cities as well as rural areas. They will add insult to injury since only 40% of unemployed workers are actually receiving EI benefits.
The most vulnerable workers will bear the brunt of these changes. This is part of a cheap labour agenda that is creeping like a cancer into the fabric of our society. The Harper government’s attack on working people is evident everywhere, from its new anti-union legislation to the green light it is giving to discriminatory wages for Temporary Foreign Workers. It is unjust. It is outrageous.
Your mobilizations are truly impressive and have inspired us to launch our own fight-back campaign and to take action to build public awareness.
We thank you for your unwavering commitment and look forward to joining you in future actions that convey a strong and united message… Scrap Harper’s EI Changes! Fix EI! The EI system belongs to workers. We have a right to decent access and benefits. In the name of social justice, fairness and democracy,
Tam Goossen and Carolyn Egan
Co-Chairs of the Good Jobs for All Coalition,
Greater Toronto Area
‘Good Jobs for All Coalition’ Supports Protests Against EI Changes
April 25, 2013
(Toronto) This Saturday, April 27 thousands of workers and supporters are taking to the streets of Montreal to demand the Harper government withdraw its recent changes to Employment Insurance. Similarly, protesters in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia among others are calling on Ottawa to “Scrap the EI Changes.”
Inspired by these actions, the Toronto-based Good Jobs For All Coalition has announced the launch of its own campaign in the Greater Toronto area. “The impact of the EI changes will be felt right across Canada in many sectors and in big cities as well as rural areas. It’s not just an issue for Quebec and Atlantic provinces. These changes will be acutely felt here in the GTA too,” Coalition co-chair Tam Goossen said.
The Good Jobs Coalition which represents more than 30 community and labour organizations in the Greater Toronto Area has also sent a message of solidarity to the demonstrations in Montreal and Edmundston, New Brunswick. The Coalition identifies the attack on workers’ EI rights as “part of a cheap labour agenda creeping like a cancer into the fabric of our society” including the government’s new anti-union legislation and green light to lower wages for Temporary Foreign Workers.
The message ends with support for future actions “that convey a strong and united message to Scrap Harper’s EI Changes. And Fix EI.”
A petition on the Coalition’s website calls for:
• Better access to EI especially for those in precarious jobs. This would require an overhaul of the EI Hours system with a new qualifying minimum of 360 hours;
• Improved benefit rates;
• Extended benefit weeks to provide continued income benefits for workers in approved training programs, among others.
For more information contact these Good Jobs For All Coalition representatives:
Judy Persad, organizer 416-441-3663 x 224
Winnie Ng Social Justice Chair, Ryerson University 647-291-3511
Laurell Ritchie, labour EI specialist 416-917-0047
For EI petition and backgrounders, please visit: goodjobsforall.ca/fix-employment-insurance
By: Carol Goar Canada, Published on Wed Apr 10 2013
Just when it seemed safe to put Jim Flaherty’s surprise-loaded 2012 budget behind us, it delivered a nasty aftershock.
Labour activists knew it was coming, but most Canadians didn’t. Buried in last spring’s 425-page omnibus budget legislation was a change in employment insurance (EI) rules that will hurt thousands of laid-off workers. It took effect on April 7.
Unions and community groups pleaded with the government not to implement the measure. They failed. So last Sunday, employment insurance benefits in two-thirds of the country were quietly reduced. Existing recipients were spared but new EI claimants — starting with the 54,500 workers who lost their jobs in March — will be subject to tougher rules. Most will get less support.
Generalizations are impossible. The impact on any person depends on his or her employment record, skills and the health of the local job market. But by and large, EI applicants in Oshawa, Windsor, Hamilton, the Niagara region, Sudbury, Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver will fare worse under the new rules. (The effect in Toronto will minimal because EI claimants here never received the same benefits as their counterparts in the rest of the country.)
Full article: www.thestar.com
The Worker’s Action Centre has released a list of 5 priorities for a good jobs agenda. Premier Wynne, are you listening?
As incoming premier Kathleen Wynne takes office, here are 5 priorities for action on good jobs:
- Increase the minimum wage
- Target employers that violate employment standards
- Ensure adequate resources for proactive enforcement of employment standards
- Update the ESA to create good jobs
- Equal protections for temporary foreign workers.
Toronto saves $800,000 from contracting-out building cleaning — far less than promised
Paul Moloney – Toronto Star
The amount Toronto taxpayers will save by contracting-out cleaning at police facilities will be less than a third of the original estimates.
Instead of saving $2.5 million a year, budget papers indicate the annual savings will be only about $800,000.
The city has pondered putting cleaning services out for contract for years, but council didn’t go along with the idea until last year, after Mayor Rob Ford was elected and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, vowed to outsource anything that wasn’t nailed down.
Under the Ford administration, garbage pick-up west of Yonge St. and TTC bus cleaning have also been outsourced.
The savings on the police contract fall “wildly short of the $2.5 million that was predicted,” said Councillor Pam McConnell, who opposed extending the contract.
The $2.5-million figure was extrapolated from a private-sector quote in 2003 to clean four police buildings: police headquarters and three stations.
If applied to all police buildings, the savings would come to $2.5 million annually, then-chief Julian Fantino said in a report to city council.
Fantino said the police service had no problem with contract cleaning and was ready to proceed. But the issue languished until after Ford’s election in October 2010.
Full article: Toronto Star
Systemic marginalization creates barriers to a living wage for many workers in Canada. In particular, women workers, and those who are racialized, immigrant, Aboriginal, living with disabilities or similarly disadvantaged are all segregated into low wage job ghettoes—their work systemically devalued. A recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives argues that governments and employers need to deliver more equitable compensation incomes for vulnerable workers. The report states that the right to work and earn a living wage free of discrimination is a basic human right.