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The economic crisis that hit Canada last year happened because of the bad choices made by both businesses and governments.

That crisis caused a recession. It has cost over 350,000 Canadians their jobs – so far mostly in the manufacturing and resource sectors. Unless something changes soon, many Canadians will not only lose their jobs, but everything they’ve worked for – their savings, their pensions, their future.

When they most need it, the EI program is failing too many of those workers and families experiencing job loss. We need to make it work – our economic recovery depends on it.

The Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the federal government to:

  • Provide regular benefits on the basis of 360 hours of work, no matter where workers live and work in Canada.
  • Raise benefits immediately to 60% of earnings calculated on a worker’s best 12 weeks.
  • Increase the period for which benefits can be collected to a maximum of 50 weeks.

Rallies have already been held calling for a meaningful EI program, and over ten thousand people have signed petitions supporting our demands. But we need to keep up the pressure for EI reform.

CUPE is strongly endorsing the CLC’s request for union locals to distribute petitions, get them signed, and then return copies to their local labour council and to their federal member of parliament. MPs are required to read the petition in the House of Commons if they receive it with a minimum of 25 signatures.

In the fall, the Blue Collar Commission of both Tories and Liberals will submit their ideas on EI reform to the government. We need to keep our agenda front and centre for the next few months.