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.