August 20th, 2018

Liberals doing too little, too late with pilot project on Employment Insurance

OTTAWA – The Liberal government is doing too little, too late with half-measures for seasonal industry workers in Canada. The liberals have pledged to solve the infamous issue of the “black hole” for all workers, but have once again refused to comprehensively reform Employment Insurance.

“The liberals are doing too little, too late, one year before the next election, when they should have done something as early as 2016," said Brigitte Sansoucy, MP for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, and NDP Critic for Families, Children and Social Development. "What are the workers stuck in this black hole without access to these five weeks expected to do? The government is abandoning them because they don't live in the areas of the country the Liberal's chose. This is unacceptable! These people aren’t statistics or targets, they are real families that are just trying to make ends meet," said Sansoucy.

Only 13 of the 62 Employment Insurance Economic Regions are targeted by the pilot program announced today, excluding a large number of workers from across Canada. Today’s announcement only begins to address the issue, and doesn't deal with the root causes of the problem. For far too long, the NDP, unemployed worker groups, and unions have all tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the government to overhaul the Employment Insurance program.

“Successive conservative and liberal governments have undermined the Employment Insurance program to the point that less than half of the country’s unemployed workers are now eligible for benefits," said Niki Ashton, MP for Churchill - Keewatinook Aski and NDP Jobs critic. "With high eligibility thresholds for EI, unemployed, underemployed, and precariously employed workers cannot access the benefits they are paying for. Now, it’s time for the government to finally stop waiting and address these problems immediately.”