EI program failing unemployed workers: CLC

Only 37.9 per cent of out-of-work Canadians qualify

The employment insurance program continues to fail unemployed workers as only 37.9 per cent of unemployed Canadians actually qualify, according to Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) president Ken Georgetti.

“That means either there are roadblocks put in the way of people receiving benefits from an insurance program that they paid into, or they have been out of work for so long that they have used up their benefits.” 

In looking at Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for December 2012, there were 1,357,200 unemployed Canadians in November and the unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent. In the 15 to 24 age group, unemployment stood at 14.1 per cent and 47.6 per cent of young workers were employed part time.

It is especially galling for the unemployed to be told bythe federal government there are jobs and skills shortages in Canada, said Georgetti.

“By latest count, there are 5.3 unemployed people for every job vacancy. This government and employers should be providing training and apprenticeship programs so that unemployed workers can be better matched to the jobs that are available.”

The unemployment rate in December was 7.1 per cent, the lowest in four years but still far above the pre-recession rate of six per cent, according to CLC senior economist Angella MacEwen.

Since 2008, the Canadian economy has added 376,800 jobs, but 64 per cent of these jobs have been temporary, she said. In December 2012, 25 per cent of the job gains were in contract or term employment.

Because of this, more workers are finding they don't have access to EI when their terms are up and they are unable to find continuing employment. Changes to EI surrounding suitable work will make this situation worse, as workers are forced to take poor quality jobs rather than being afforded the time to find a better match for their skills, said MacEwen.

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