Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

November 04, 2011 10:17 ET

Canada Unprepared for Slowdown, Must Fix EI

CLC President comments on job numbers for October 2011

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 4, 2011) - Canada's Employment Insurance system is not prepared for a looming economic slowdown and Ottawa must fix the EI program while there is still time, says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"There are storm clouds over Europe and the United States and in Canada the Parliamentary budget officer is predicting an economic slowdown that could cost 100,000 Canadians their jobs," Georgetti says. "Our Employment Insurance system is not ready to help the people thrown out of work.

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for October 2011. There were 1,374,200 unemployed Canadians in October and the unemployment rate was 7.3 per cent.

Georgetti says that the EI system is already failing a high percentage of unemployed workers in all age groups. "In August, almost six out of 10 unemployed Canadians did not get Employment Insurance because the program's regulations excluded them. That is just not acceptable to people who paid into the program believing it would be there for them when they need it."

Georgetti adds that time is running out for Ottawa to improve the EI program. "It is urgent that the government act now. If they don't it is going to be a long cold winter for many unemployed Canadian workers."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne

Three years after the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, Canada's labour market continues to experience extreme softness, with 72,000 full-time jobs lost in October. This is the second largest decline in full-time work since the middle of the recession in the winter of 2009. The unemployment rate is now 7.3%, up from 7.1% last month and it remains 1.2% above the level reached in October 2008. The number of unemployed Canadians increased in October 2011 over the previous month by 40,000 and is now at 1,374,200. There are 25% more unemployed Canadians today than there were just prior to the onset of the recession in October 2008. The job losses in October 2011 were concentrated in the goods-producing sectors, which shed 51,900 jobs, with 48,400 lost in manufacturing and 20,100 in construction. Many of these were good paying, full-time, family-supporting jobs.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 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: Twitter: @CanadianLabour

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