Posted: Thursday, 22 September 2011
The federal government must address the lack of access by unemployed Canadians to Employment Insurance benefits says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Georgetti was responding to the release by Statistic Canada of figures for July 2011.
CLC analysis of that data shows that only 39.6% of unemployed Canadian workers were collecting regular Employment Insurance benefits. This is down from 50% in mid 2009.
Georgetti says that many unemployed workers have run out of benefits and others don’t qualify at all. “We have an EI system that deliberately excludes people who have paid into it expecting that it will be there for them when they lose their jobs. That’s not acceptable and Ottawa has to reform EI.”
He adds that almost 1.4 million Canadians are out of work and things could get much worse as winter approaches because the economies in all industrialized countries, including Canada, are slowing down.
Georgetti is calling for reforms to make it easier to qualify for benefits, and extend benefit periods while unemployment remains high.