Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

August 27, 2009 07:00 ET

REMINDER-Media Advisory-Ontario Federation of Labour-Unemployed Workers to Michael Ignatieff: "Fix EI"

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 27, 2009) - Unemployed workers want Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to commit himself and his Party to a three point reform package to fix Employment Insurance. Workers will be assembling Thursday to deliver signed petitions to his Etobicoke constituency office.

On August 25 Statistics Canada reported that more than 400,000 jobs were lost since last October and that the number of people turning to EI for income support has increased by over 60 percent.

"Today's reality is that many people who were lucky enough to qualify for Employment Insurance have either run out of benefits - or soon will," said Terry Downey, Executive Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "So while reducing the eligibility requirement to 360 hours is critical, EI income support must also be extended and increased."

In July, Parliament's Budget Officer Kevin Page, predicted that an additional 100,000 jobs would be lost this summer. A July Report issued by the office of the Budget Officer suggests that as many as 380,000 jobs could be lost each year between 2011 and 2014.

"We're not just talking about the hundreds of thousands who have already lost their jobs-it's all the people who will be the casualties of the job losses predicted between now and 2014," said Kelly Hayes, Ontario director of the Canadian Labour Congress. "With growing job loss and exhausted benefits, unemployed workers don't have time for piecemeal reforms."

Currently, two Liberal Members of Parliament and two Conservative Members of Parliament are part of a panel deliberating on how to improve EI.

Workers are asking for the following reforms:

1. 360 hours to qualify for EI benefits in all regions of Canada

2. Increase benefit duration to 50 weeks for all workers in all regions, and

- provide an additional year of "Special Extension" benefits if national unemployment exceeds 6.5% - paid from federal general revenues

- extend EI Part 1 benefits while a worker is in approved training

3. Increase benefits to at least 60% of normal earnings, using workers' 12 best weeks, and raise the maximum. Suspend allocation of severance pay. Eliminate the 2-week waiting period.

Date: Thursday, August 27
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Constituency Office of MP Michael Ignatieff
Liberal Party of Canada Leader
656 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Y 1K7
Driving Instructions:
- From the east: use South Kingsway/Queensway West exit from the
- From the west, use Islington exit
- The office is on the North side, between Park Lawn and Royal York

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Pam Frache
    Education Director
    416-443-7663 office or 416-578-3472 cell