Statistics Canada announced job loss figures for May today, revealing that Canada has shed another 42,000 jobs.
The national unemployment rate is now at an 11-year high, hitting an unemployment percentage of 8.4 - one per cent behind the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.4 per cent.
Total job losses since October have climbed to 363,000 positions, with Ontario bearing the brunt, shedding 60,000 jobs. The majority of Ontario’s job losses came from the province’s beleaguered manufacturing sector.
The report also states that Ontario accounts for 64 per cent of the total national employment losses since the beginning of the market downturn.
The new statistics only reinforce the need for employment insurance reform. Ontario, once categorized as a low-unemployment province, has dated qualification requirements for EI. Currently, workers in Ontario must work between 630-700 hours to qualify (compared to other provinces where requirements are as low as 420 hours).
We need a standard eligibility of 360 hours – no matter where a worker lives. We need benefits that are determined by a worker’s best 12 weeks on the job, and coverage needs to last at least 50 weeks.
Mr. Harper, it’s time to stop re-announcing pre-existing EI reforms that don’t do nearly enough for out-of-work Canadians. We need to fix EI, and we need to fix it now.