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  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What’s next for BC? July 4, 2017
    Five weeks ago the CCPA-BC began a letter to our supporters with this statement: “What an interesting and exciting moment in BC politics! For a bunch of policy nerds like us at the CCPA, it doesn’t get much better than this.” At the time, we were writing about the just-announced agreement between the BC NDP […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Getting the Facts Straight on EI Changes

In a guest post at the Broadbent Institute, I flesh out some of the impacts of EI changes with three (fairly typical) hypothetical stories of unemployed Canadians. There are certainly more extreme consequences felt by some already.  At least these folks have access to the Board of Referees. Many fear that access to natural justice will be threatened as we transition from the old appeals system to the new downsized Social Security Tribunal starting April 1st.

Punitive changes to the definitions of suitable work, combined with cuts to Service Canada front-line workers, and a down-sized appeals process make for a very worrying combination.

The best way to get the facts straight is to tell the stories of ordinary Canadians. We need to explain how these changes are affecting our lives and our communities if there is to be broader action.  This discussion shouldn’t be limited to national newspapers. We need to talk to our friends, our family, our coworkers, and our elected representatives. It should be happening in our living rooms, our churches, our community centres.

Marlene Giersdorf, the single mother from PEI who gained national attention protesting her disentitlement to EI, is surely the tip of the iceberg. Many more are likely too afraid to come forward, or have too much to lose. But she is a great example of the impact of EI changes and the importance of fighting back – her benefits were recently reinstated.

Town halls on EI are taking place across Canada right now – find one in your community and tell your story. It could be any one of us – we’re all vulnerable.

 

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