May 9th, 2018

NDP calls on government to enhance EI sickness benefits

OTTAWA – New Democrat MPs Niki Ashton and Brigitte Sansoucy are calling on the Liberals to increase Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks. They are adding their voices to Marie-Hélène Dubé’s, who started the petition 15 weeks to heal is not enough!,as well as the more than half a million people who signed it, demanding the government keep its promise to reform the Employment Insurance Act.

“More than a third of Canadians who claim EI need much more than the 15-week maximum currently offered by the program”, said Brigitte Sansoucy, NDP Critic for Families, Children and Social Development. “In 2016, both the Prime Minister and his Minister of Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos promised to extend EI sickness benefits. Five years ago, while in the opposition, Justin Trudeau voted in favour of Bill C-291 that extended Employment Insurance sick benefits from 15 to 50 weeks. Why is he failing to act now that he’s in power?”

Nearly one in two Canadians will develop cancer at some point in their lives, an illness with an average treatment length of 52 weeks. Clearly, 15 weeks of benefits are not enough to allow people to heal before returning to work.

“The federal government needs to have the courage to take action and keep its promise,” added Niki Ashton, NDP Critic for Jobs, Employment, Precarious work and Workforce Development. “Thousands of people across the country need these benefits. The government cannot ignore them, it must do something to help Canadians who are sick and who need help.”