Employment Insurance benefits hard to access: CLC President responds to Statistics Canada figures

Posted: Thursday, 19 April 2012

OTTAWA – The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says it is “scandalous” that fewer than 40% of unemployed workers in Canada are receiving Employment Insurance benefits.

Ken Georgetti was responding to the release of Statistics Canada information for the month of February 2012, when only 39.9% of unemployed workers were receiving EI Benefits. That is 3.7 percentage points lower than February 2011, when 43.6% of the unemployed were receiving regular benefits.

“Many unemployed workers have run out of EI benefits and are forced to sell assets and property, or collect welfare to survive,” Georgetti says. “These people are out of work through no fault of their own. They paid into this insurance program believing it would be there for them when they needed it and fewer than 40 per cent of them can collect. This is scandalous.”

Georgetti says, “What we need from the government is a strategy to create good, family-supporting jobs. And we need a strategy for training young workers and for retraining workers who are unemployed.”

Georgetti adds, “We wanted to see in the recent budget a major push on retraining but that’s not what we got. There was some talk about training but no equivalent new spending to use EI funds to train unemployed workers in the skills needed for growing areas of our economy.”

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 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: http://www.canadianlabour.ca. Follow us on Twitter: @CanadianLabour


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