Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

June 17, 2009 16:01 ET

CLC President Says Forget Working Group: Fix EI Now

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - Unemployed workers are being badly hurt by the government delaying needed improvements to Employment Insurance, says Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

He was responding to an announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff that they will set up a working group to meet over the summer and consider changes to EI. Georgetti says, "We know what has to be done to fix EI. Putting off changes for months does not help unemployed workers or their communities."

"We have been advocating for improvements for months," Georgetti says. "Our recommendations have been supported by all three opposition parties including Mr. Ignatieff himself, by several premiers, the mayors and city councillors at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention and by editorial writers from major newspapers."

There are 1.55 million unemployed Canadians but only 46.8% of them are actually receiving EI benefits. Georgetti says many workers who lost their jobs early in the recession will run out of benefits over the summer. "Clearly we need changes now not next winter."

The CLC is calling on the federal government to:

- change accessibility rules to provide regular EI benefits on the basis of 360 hours of work, no matter where people live and work in Canada.

- make all workers eligible for up to 50 weeks of EI benefits.

- raise benefits immediately to 60% of earnings calculated on a worker's best 12 weeks of earnings.

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. Web site:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Dennis Gruending
    613-526-7431 or 613-878-6040