Pre Election Sweetening of EI in Ontario

It has to go down as one of the most modest reponses to the manufacturing jobs crisis one could imagine.

On Friday – literally on the eve of the election call -  Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg announced that four Ontario EI regions – Huron, Niagara, Oshawa and Windsor – will be added to the list of high unemployment regions which qualify for enhanced EI benefits under so-called pilot projects  because of  high unemployment. Each of these regions has recently experienced at least one month of 8% or higher unemployment.

Moving forward, unemployed workers in these regions will get benefits based on the best 14 weeks of earnings over the 52 weeks preceding a claim, instead of the actual number of weeks worked, and new entrants/re enetrants to the work force will gain access to EI benefits after 840 hours of work rather than 910 hours.

Since November 2002, Ontario has lost one in five manufacturing jobs, to a total of 221,000.

However, Sudbury and Southern Coastal British Columbia will no longer be covered by these pilots.

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