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EI FormsThe Liberals have announced that they will reduce premiums used to fund Employment Insurance. With the current proportion of unemployed workers receiving benefits is below 40 per cent, the lowest level since the establishment of unemployment insurance, now is not the time to cut funding to EI (even if it is less of a cut than the Conservatives proposed). Instead, the federal government should be working on ways to expand funding and access to EI by unemployed workers.

CUPE and the labour movement have been calling for specific changes to the EI system that would allow grow the percentage of unemployed workers receiving support. Harper’s recent changes to EI to be scrapped and a new proper consultations be called with workers and communities about how best to manage unemployment support. Workers’ experiences with unemployment and precarious work incorporated into a social welfare system that ensures people don’t bear all the risk of the current economic system.

CUPE is calling for the previous budgets’ changes be scrapped and the following reforms brought in:

  • Reduce the number of qualifying hours (for regular benefits) to 360 hours, no matter who workers are or where they live and work in Canada.
  • Measure a “week” as 30 hours instead of 35 when calculating benefit levels and duration, to reflect the average Canadian work week.
  • Increase the benefits period to 50 weeks.
  • Increase benefits to at least 60 per cent of earnings being replaced calculated on a worker’s best 12 weeks.