../Morning Post
Posted October 12 , 2010
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Employment Insurance

COALITION SENDS OPEN LETTER TO HARPER CALLING FOR EI FIX

Toronto - Last Thursday, the Good Jobs for All Coalition sent an open letter to Prime Minister Harper demanding the Federal government reform Employment Insurance so laid off workers are not left out in the cold.

The release of Fridays “StatsCan Labour Force Survey September 2010” report reveals Toronto’s unemployment rate hovers at 10.1%.

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The October 4th release of the “2010 Toronto Vital Signs report” by the Toronto Community Foundation reveals the devastating impact of job loss on Toronto residents. The report found that almost half of the new food bank users in the GTA came because of job losses and reduced work hours.

“The Vital Signs report gives us a sobering picture of the growing number of Torontonians who have fallen between the cracks,” says Good Jobs for All Coalition co-chair, Winnie Ng. “The Federal government must respond to this urgent need and reform EI so unemployed workers get the support they deserve.”

The Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling for the Federal government to continue on with the following measures:

1. A 5 week EI extension for all workers;

2. EI-benefit extensions of up to 20 weeks for long tenure workers; and

3. Universal application of all pilot projects (14 best weeks benefit calculation, 40% allowable when working on claim, new entrant/re-entrants at 840 hours).

In addition, the Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling for a comprehensive EI reform package that includes: reducing the number of hours someone needs to work to qualify for EI to 360 hours; increasing benefits from 55% to 60% of regular earnings; and extending benefits by an additional 50 weeks whenever national unemployment exceeds 6%.

“The fact remains that less than 40% of laid off workers in Toronto receive EI benefits due to the stringent eligibility criteria and reduced benefit duration,” says Tam Goossen, co-chair of the Good Jobs for All Coalition. “That’s simply unacceptable.”

October 7, 2010

Open letter to:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister for Human Resources and Skills Development
Dear Ministers:

The Good Jobs for All Coalition has mobilized and lobbied for Employment Insurance (EI) reform over the past two years so that laid off workers are not left out in the cold.
The October 4th release of the “2010 Toronto Vital Signs report” by the Toronto Community Foundation has now confirmed some of our worst fears about the devastating impact of job loss on Toronto residents.

It is heartbreaking to learn that almost half of the new food bank users in the GTA came because of job losses and reduced work hours.
With Toronto unemployment averaging 10% in 2009, and over 9% throughout 2010, there is an urgent need for the Federal government to continue with the following threatened EI measures:

1. A 5 week EI extension for all workers;

2. EI-benefit extensions of up to 20 weeks for long tenure workers; and

3. Universal application of all pilot projects (14 best weeks benefit calculation, 40% allowable when working on claim, new entrant/re-entrants at 840 hours).

In addition to these measures, the Good Jobs for All Coalition is calling for a comprehensive EI reform package that includes: reducing the number of hours someone needs to work to qualify for EI to 360 hours; increasing benefits from 55% to 60% of regular earnings; and extending benefits by an additional 50 weeks whenever national unemployment exceeds 6%.

The fact remains that less than 40% of laid off workers in Toronto receive EI benefits due to the stringent eligibility criteria and reduced benefit duration.
The Vital Signs report provides a sobering picture of the growing number of Torontonians who have fallen between the cracks. It's time for the Federal government to respond to this urgent need and provide EI for unemployed workers when they need it most.

We need action now.

Sincerely,

Winnie Ng Co-Chair, Good Jobs for All Coalition
Tam Goossen Co-Chair, Good Jobs for All Coalition

Cc: David Miller, Mayor of Toronto Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Québécois Party Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP

Included: A list of organizations that are members of the Good Jobs for All Coalition.
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