Next budget must improve EI for the unemployed: CLC President comments on job numbers for November 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

OTTAWA – The next federal budget early next year must include measures to improve income security for unemployed workers, says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“Canada’s economy is headed for a slow down, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other expert observers,” says Georgetti. “That means unemployment will remain high at a time when the Employment Insurance system is failing workers who lose their jobs. That has to be fixed and the place to begin is with the next federal budget.”

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for November 2011. There were 1,394,700 unemployed Canadians in November and the unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent.

Georgetti says that almost six out of 10 unemployed Canadians are not able to get Employment Insurance because the program’s regulations exclude them. “We have to improve on this and soon. Workers paid into this insurance program believing it would be there for them when they need it.”

Georgetti says the CLC has a detailed blueprint for improving the EI system:

  • -A uniform national entrance requirement of 360 hours;
  • -Raising benefits from 55% to 60% of previous earnings;
  • -Extending benefits to at least 50 weeks in all regions.

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Researcher Chris Roberts

Canada’s job market continued to sputter in November. Having been essentially flat since July, employment fell for the second consecutive month. The labour market lost a net 18,600 jobs, with all of the reduction coming in part-time work, which fell by 53,300. Many of these part-time jobs were among the self-employed, with 27,500 jobs lost from last month. Full-time jobs rose by 34,600 in November, making up only half of October’s full-time job losses. The number of unemployed Canadians increased for the second straight month, climbing by 20,500 to 1,394,700. The unemployment rate rose to 7.4 % up from 7.3 % in October and 7.1% in September. While employment in manufacturing fell for the second month in a row (-7,300), job losses in November were concentrated in services (-43,900), particularly retail and wholesale trade (-34,100) and business services (-29,200).

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Website: www.canadianlabour.ca Twitter: @CanadianLabour

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