CUPE is calling on the federal government to expand access to Employment Insurance and increase supports for unemployed and sick workers. For decades, EI has excluded many workers and paid benefits that are too low to survive on. It’s time to rebuild this essential part of Canada’s social safety net.

The pandemic showed EI could not meet workers’ needs. Canada’s COVID-19 response also highlights what’s possible when governments put resources into expanding income supports.

EI was broken and inadequate before the pandemic. Fewer than half of unemployed workers qualify for benefits that leave many below the poverty line. EI access is inequitable, with men more likely than women to qualify, and uneven coverage across regions.