Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 13, 2011 15:12 ET

Parties in Election Must Address Lack of Access to EI

CLC says too many unemployed being denied benefits

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 13, 2011) - All parties in the 2011 federal election should address the lack of access by unemployed Canadians to Employment Insurance benefits, says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"There has been a modest recovery in jobs since the bottom of the recession, but the fact remains we still have a high unemployment rate and a broken EI system," Georgetti says. "The latest data show that just 44% of unemployed workers are collecting regular EI benefits, down from over 50% in mid 2009 when special benefit extensions were in place."

Georgetti adds that many unemployed workers have run out of benefits, and others don't qualify at all. He points to a number of big cities and hard-hit communities where unemployment is well above the national average, but the proportion of unemployed workers collecting EI is below that national average.

He is calling for reforms to make it easier to qualify for benefits, and extended benefit periods while unemployment remains high.

Unemployment Rate and EI Beneficiaries As Percent of Unemployed
December 2010
Unemployment RateEI Beneficiaries as
% of Unemployed
St Catharines-Niagara9.4%36.8%
Statistics Canada data for Census Metropolitan Areas (3 month moving average)

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:

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