Tell the federal government to fix EI, before it’s too late.
Thanks to the hard work of Unifor members, the federal government is planning changes to Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) system- but they're not in place yet.
On September 24, all temporary measures that improved our access to EI will expire. It's urgent we extend the Recovery Measures as a bridge to permanent EI improvements.
Workers will otherwise face a huge jump in the current minimum of 420 qualifying hours for both Regular and Special Benefits (parental, sickness, etc), and the allocation/clawback of separation payments. Women, workers of colour, and others in precarious jobs are at particular risk.
At the start of COVID, the federal government relaxed EI eligibility to improve access to emergency support for those most in need. Without these supports, it would have been much worse for workers and their families due to the COVID closures, lockdowns and layoffs.
An inaccessible and inadequate EI program is another disaster for workers who need access to EI now when the next crisis hits. That's why we are demanding the federal government immediately extend the temporary EI measures and implement the following permanent changes:
Expand EI access:
A 360-hour or 12-week qualifying rule with 50 weeks of income support
An end to harsh disqualification rules
Ensure migrant workers have access to EI
End misclassification, a practice where employers falsely label their employees as self-employed independent contractors to avoid paying their fair share of EI and CPP.
Improve the weekly benefit rate and include a guaranteed weekly minimum
Fund a new, annual federal government contribution to EI to help pay for improvements, provide adequate staffing with fair pay, and ensure EI acts as an effective economic stabilizer at times of crisis.
Unifor is calling for immediate changes that improve accessibility, eliminate unfair penalties, and raise benefit levels.
These short-term reforms must also guide long-term, permanent improvements to EI in order to help workers for generations to come.
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