Corporate Canada blew a collective gasket over the recent release of the federal auditor general’s report which pegged the surplus in the Employment Insurance fund at about $46 billion.
Business lobby groups called for even deeper cuts in the premiums employers pay into the fund, beyond the 1.6 per cent cut planned for January 1, 2005.
The real issue for workers, though, is that so few who pay premiums regardless of how much will receive benefits if they lose their jobs.
Roughly two-thirds of unemployed women do not receive EI, while more than half of unemployed men in Canada do not receive EI.
CUPE is pushing to get the following improvements on to the governments agenda for its planned review of employment insurance:
- The number of qualifying hours should be lowered to 360 for all benefits throughout the country;
- The duration of benefits must be lengthened;
- Benefit levels should be set at two-thirds of a worker’s best 12 weeks;
- Benefits should be automatic if workers are laid off after a special leave; and
- Set up a training insurance system similar to the apprenticeship system, including a training benefit leave.