Open Letter from CAW to Federal Opposition Leaders on the Vote on Bill C-308 (Employment Insurance)

September 28, 2010, 2:48 PM EST

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Jack Layton,
Leader, NDP

Gilles Duceppe,
Leader, Bloc Quebecois

Michael Ignatieff
Leader, Liberal Party

Dear Sirs:

We urge your party to stay the course on Wednesday and support Bill C-308, a comprehensive package of amendments to the EI Act. 

The Bill, sponsored by Yves Lessard (BQ), represents a hard-won consensus among all the opposition parties on Parliament Hill and reflects some of the reforms long advocated by labour and community organizations. It also reflects the kind of critical changes recommended by parliamentary committees and proposed in other bills. 

The Bill would also help address some of what has been lost with the government's decision to abandon economic stimulus measures, including extended EI benefits. We believe that Canada's economic recovery can only be sustained with decent supports for those who have been laid off and are now struggling to find employment in a labour market that is increasingly made up of temporary and part-time jobs.

There are compelling economic reasons to fix the EI system and provide better access to benefits, longer durations and a modest improvement in benefit rates.

Key provisions in Bill C-308 would:
# reduce the minimum EI qualifying hours to 360 in all regions of Canada
# increase the number of benefit weeks in all regions,  and
# increase the weekly benefit rate to 60% of previous earnings.

We are counting on your support to keep the pressure on the Conservative government to make the changes workers so need.


Ken Lewenza,
National President, CAW

Jean-Pierre Fortin
Quebec Director, TCA-Quebec

Earle McCurdy,
President, Fish, Food & Allied Workers (CAW)

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