E.I. Changes Are Dangerous

E.I. Changes are Dangerous

Coalitions advocating for fair employment insurance policies have issued a national joint statement opposing dangerous changes to Canada’s Employment Insurance system made by the Harper government. The Nov. 5 launch marks the escalating resistance that began with rallies in the Atlantic provinces and a demonstration of thousands on the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal. Among other changes, new EI job search rules require that claimants classified as ‘occasional’ or ‘frequent’, after just six weeks of searching for a job, accept work with up to a 20 to 30 per cent pay cut and take positions outside their usual occupation.

“The impacts of these changes are startling, as three quarters of all claimants – totaling over a million workers – fall into these new ‘occasional’ or ‘frequent’ categories,” said Marie-Helene Arruda from the Quebec Coalition Against the EI Changes. Workers in part time, casual and temporary jobs with erratic schedules and educational support workers, hotel workers, factory workers and others who are laid off by their employers during slow periods will all be affected.

Forcing people to take these kinds of jobs or risk getting cut off of EI is not only bad labour market policy, but poor economic policy as well. It is likely to throw more families in to poverty and wastes workers’ skills and training, said Jean-Claude Basque from the New Brunswick Coalition Against the EI Changes.The statement, which Unifor helped draft, has been endorsed by 80 community, student and labour groups to date.

To read the complete statement, visit: www.goodjobsforall.