Short term, part time work is making it harder for us to collect unemployment insurance (EI) when we lose our jobs. Fewer people are working enough hours to qualify for EI according to Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada reports that there are more part time jobs being created than full time jobs. That is why EI eligibility has plunged to its lowest level in nearly a decade.
And it’s only going to get worse.
The federal government is making changes to EI in 2013 that will push us to take any job. It won’t matter if it’s a job in our area of work or close to home. It could be a part time job, temporary or full time job. It could be lower paid. New rules on EI in 2013 will force us to take any job or risk being cut off from the insurance plan that we pay in to and rely on when we lose our job.
This will create a vicious cycle. We’ll be forced to take more short term work with fewer hours that will make it even harder to qualify for EI if we lose that job.
The number of hours required to qualify for EI is just one of the barriers to our insurance plan. Other barriers to EI mean that 40 per cent of unemployed get Employment Insurance in Canada. It is much worse in Toronto. Only 26 percent of unemployed workers in Toronto get EI.
We need changes to the EI system now:
- Reduce qualifying hours to 360 hours for all EI benefits
- Increase benefits! We need benefits we can survive on! Benefits should be calculated on our best 12 weeks of earnings and the 2-week waiting period should be eliminated.
- Extend benefits to 50 weeks and an extra year when national unemployment is high.
- Stop Harper’s EI changes that would create more barriers to EI.
- We need decent jobs. Update and enforce Employment Standards so that it doesn’t pay for employers to create short term work with no income security.