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  • Charting a path to $15/hour for all BC workers November 22, 2017
    In our submission to the BC Fair Wages Commission, the CCPA-BC highlighted the urgency for British Columbia to adopt a $15 minimum wage by March 2019. Read the submission. BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Low-wage workers need a significant boost to their income and they have been waiting a long time. Over 400,000 […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC joins community, First Nation, environmental groups in call for public inquiry into fracking November 5, 2017
    Today the CCPA's BC Office joined with 16 other community, First Nation and environmental organizations to call for a full public inquiry into fracking in Britsh Columbia. The call on the new BC government is to broaden a promise first made by the NDP during the lead-up to the spring provincial election, and comes on […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Income gap persists for racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people in Canada October 27, 2017
    In the Toronto Star, CCPA-Ontario senior economist Sheila Block digs into the latest Census release to reveal the persistent income gap between racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people, and the rest of Canada.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

The Budget, Stimulus, and E.I.

A coalition of community and labour organizations have come together to present their views on necessary EI reforms as part of the pre-budget process.

Joint Community and Labour Statement on the 2016 Budget, Stimulus, and E.I.

We urge the government to act quickly and decisively to restore the integrity of Canada’s EI social insurance system.

In particular, it is vital that the 2016 Budget provide economic stimulus and be at the ready as the country prepares for difficult economic storms. As an earlier federal study found, EI is the single most powerful automatic stabilizer reducing both GDP and job losses by up to 14% during recessions. Much of that earlier capacity has been lost with only 40% of the unemployed now receiving EI benefits after years of repeated cutbacks.

We recommend the government delay any decision on premium changes and immediately begin the job of making much-needed improvements to EI. All are long overdue but will now also serve as strong economic stimulus in the 2016 Budget:

1. Repeal the 2012/13 EI changes. This includes but is not limited to the punitive and discriminatory job search rules, a detrimental best weeks calculation for low income workers, removal of the extended benefit pilot project, erosion of the working while on claim benefit for those taking casual work while unemployed, and the politically-motivated addition of new EI regions in Prince Edward Island and Canada’s North.

2. Move up EI improvements. This includes the promised 1-week waiting period and reforms to the EI Hours System that will expand access and restore reasonable benefit durations. The elimination of the 910-hour rule for new immigrants, young workers, and parents re-entering the labour force is an important down payment. But other reforms are urgently needed. EI must be allowed to do the job it’s supposed to do in a labour market overflowing with precarious, temporary and part-time jobs and now facing a downturn.

3. Immediately address rampant problems with EI service delivery and appeals. Staffing levels and in-person services have seriously declined, discouraging workers from pursuing a benefit claim. The appeal system is also suffering with the Social Security Tribunal that was introduced with the 2012 changes; the model requires fundamental reforms and restoration of the business-labour role.

4. Ensure there is an independent EI Account and that EI contributions are used exclusively to fund EI programs. This includes the projected 2016 surplus, which should be used to pay for the highlighted improvements.

On behalf of the Inter-provincial E.I. Working Group:

Unemployed Workers Help Centres, Saskatchewan

Alberta Federation of Labour

Community Unemployed Help Centre, Winnipeg

Good Jobs for All Coalition, Toronto

Canadian Labour Congress

Coalition de l’Est du Québec

Federation des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Quebec

Mouvement autonome et solidaire des sans-emploi (MASSE)

Confederation des syndicats nationaux

Centrale des syndicats du Québec

Centrale des syndicats democratiques

Public Sector Alliance of Canada – Atlantic

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour

New Brunswick Coalition Against EI Cuts

Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour

PEI Coalition for Fair EI

… and others.

 

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