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Employment Insurance Reform

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TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: WHEREAS a healthy unemployment insurance system is the most powerful of all economic stabilizers. In the recessions of the early ‘80s and ’90s, UI prevented deeper, longer downturns and reduced the shock of job and GDP losses; WHEREAS we’ve entered this new economic crisis with a much weaker EI system. It provides only half the coverage it did in the last recession. Now less than half of the unemployed receive EI at any given time - because fewer workers qualify and benefit weeks are reduced; WHEREAS Ottawa stopped contributing to EI and diverted worker and employer EI premiums to other spending ($57 Billion from1994 -2009) instead of improving EI benefits; WHEREAS Even the US has shown leadership with major improvements in benefit duration (up to 99 weeks) and a $25 weekly supplement as part of stimulus packages to deal with the crisis; WHEREAS EI belongs to workers. We fund it and we expect it to be there when we need it; We urgently petition Parliament to introduce these changes to Employment Insurance 1. Improve access to benefits with 360 qualifying hours, in all regions of Canada 2. Increase benefit duration to at least 50 weeks, in all regions, and • Provide an additional year of “Special Extension” benefits when national unemployment exceeds 6.5%, paid from federal general revenues. • Extend EI Part 1 benefits while a worker is in approved training. 3. Increase benefit levels to at least 60% of normal earnings, using workers’ 12 best weeks, and raise the maximum benefit. Suspend the allocation of severance pay. Eliminate the 2 week waiting period.


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