Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

August 12, 2009 10:32 ET

Unemployed Workers to bring a Message to Diane Finley: Fix EI Now

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2009) - Unemployed workers are taking the quest for EI reform directly to the Minister responsible for Employment Insurance (EI): Diane Finley. Minister Finley is chairing the Panel on Employment Insurance that is set to report to Parliament on September 28.

On Thursday, August 13, unemployed workers will assemble at the constituency office of Minister Finley to deliver petitions and leaflets, calling for the swift implementation of improvements to EI.

"The banking crisis may be over, but thanks to the dithering of federal politicians, Canada's unemployment crisis continues and will likely get worse,"said Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

"In the midst of this jobs crisis, only about half of unemployed workers receive Employment Insurance, and in Ontario the figures are even worse", said Kelly Hayes, Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Despite reports that the recession is over, a paper issued from the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer suggests that as many as a half-million more jobs could be lost in 2010 - in addition to the approximately 400,000 jobs lost since the recession officially began last fall.

Workers without jobs are demanding urgent action on implementing the following changes:

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 13
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Where: Constituency Office of MP Diane Finley
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
70 Queensway West, Simcoe, ON


Contact Information

  • Pam Frache, OFL Education Director
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 663
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7663