The employment agencies pleaded on Thursday for the improvement of the employment insurance system, the reform of which the federal government is preparing.
The Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), which attended the Ottawa Unemployment Insurance Commissioner’s Forum, presented a platform of 15 demands.
The common platform is shared with the Federation of Workers of Quebec (FTQ), the Central Trade Unions of Quebec (CSQ) and the Central of Democratic Trade Unions (CSD).
According to CSN, although everyone contributes, for years only four out of ten unemployed receive benefits, while part-time workers, seasonal workers and pregnant women are penalized.
The top unions and unemployment organizations are proposing a new benefit threshold of 420 hours worked, or 12 weeks with a minimum of 14 hours.
In addition, the duration of benefits should be extended from 35 weeks to 51 weeks, while the income replacement rate should be raised to 60% instead of the current 55%, the lowest rate in OECD countries.
The top four unions are also urging Ottawa to help fund the labor insurance system again, which would benefit from tripartite administration.
“It is high time for Ottawa to give workers and the unemployed back the employment insurance benefits to which they are rightfully entitled,” CSN President Caroline Senneville said in a press release.
For 30 years successive governments have “seized the fund’s surpluses or reduced the benefits of a plan that nonetheless belongs to workers and employers,” denounced Ms. Senneville.