Fix Employment Insurance

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Organizing makes a difference!

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Because people like you have been mobilizing and organizing across the country, changes to Employment Insurance (EI) are firmly on the political agenda.

But corporate lobby groups are already pushing back -- and there's no guarantee the government will implement all the changes we know are needed.

We’re counting on you to help make sure workers’ voices can’t be ignored.

Here are four easy ways to take action

  1. Send an email right now to your Member of Parliament as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough; and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
  2. Join the pan-Canadian day of action on Monday, December 19. Organize a visit to your local Member of Parliament or take action online. Here's how:
    • Using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter: post a solidarity selfie (you can make your own sign, or print one here) or share the EI Holiday Wish List. 
    • Tag @JustinTrudeau @CQualtro and @cafreeland and use the hashtags: #FixEI #Justice4Workers #CdnPoli so we can find your posts and amplify them! 
  3. Call your Member of Parliament to let them know you’re counting on them to Fix Employment Insurance as an urgent priority for 2023.
  4. Sign and mail an EI Holiday Card to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (no postage necessary). Download and print it here. Pro tip: There are 2 cards per page, so you can cut it in half and get a friend to send one too!

What workers need

We’re calling on Prime Minister Trudeau; Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough; Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrsytia Freeland to:

  • Extend the temporary EI measures as a bridge to permanent improvements
  • Set a universal 360-hour or 12-week qualifying rule for up to 50 weeks of income support
  • Ensure migrant workers have access to EI
  • End harsh disqualification rules that cut off EI access to vulnerable workers
  • End misclassifications that leave employees wrongly called self-employed independent contractors with no EI access
  • Improve the weekly benefit rate and include a guaranteed weekly minimum
  • Provide income benefits so long as workers are in approved training
  • Fund a new, annual federal government contribution to pay for improvements, and staffing & ensure EI acts as an economic stabilizer at times of crisis

At the start of COVID, the federal government relaxed Employment Insurance 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. Statistics Canada has verified the dramatic, positive impact these changes had on improving workers' access to EI.

Shamefully, the federal government allowed these rules to expire without implementing the permanent changes needed to make EI work for workers. As a result, workers have faced a huge jump in the qualifying hours required 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 have been disproportionately harmed by the government's inaction.

With a recession looming, an inaccessible and inadequate EI program will be another disaster for workers who need access to EI now and when the next crisis hits.

Resources

Links to download: