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June 27th, 2019

NDP: Access to Employment Insurance must be Improved

OTTAWA - Today, the NDP reacted to a report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that recommends significant reforms to the Employment Insurance system to make it more accessible, particularly for low-income workers.

"This report highlights one of the most serious problems we face – growing economic inequality," said NDP MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski). “The effects of inequality are exponential, while the most vulnerable workers are also the most likely to fall through the cracks of the social safety net. Decades of cuts by the Liberals and Conservatives have meant that the employment insurance system is only there for a small minority of workers. The system needs to be thoroughly fixed so that it works for everyone.”

The report notes that the share of unemployed workers eligible for EI benefits is around 40%, but only 28% of unemployed workers who were earning $15 or less per hour were eligible for benefits in 2017. The report also points out that low-income workers contributed 1.8% of their employment income while higher-income workers contributed 1.1% of their income.

"It is completely unacceptable that low-income workers contribute substantially more than higher-income workers and that they have less access to benefits than what they are supposed to receive," said NDP MP Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot). “In our New Deal for People, we propose major changes to the system to ensure that all Canadian workers have access to the help they deserve when they need it.”