Phone Zap: Fix Employment Insurance
Pan-Canadian phone ZAP!
We'll come together on Zoom, review the current state of affairs for EI, call our Members of Parliament and then plan our next steps in the fight to fix Employment Insurance.
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.
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