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Thursday, February 16, 2012

NDP takes on Conservative cuts to EI

NDP takes on Conservative cuts to EI

Will hear from Canadians about delays at Service Canada and long EI wait times
OTTAWA – New Democrats are launching a tour of constituencies most affected by Conservative service cuts at Employment Insurance processing centres.

“Workers who’ve lost their jobs shouldn’t have to wait months to get their EI,” said Claude Patry, NDP EI critic. “But we’ve heard that some people are waiting 128 days to see a cheque and when they call for help, they can’t get through. That’s unacceptable.”

Conservative cuts means there are fewer people working in EI processing than before the recession began in 2007. But the number of unemployed Canadians waiting for their benefits has doubled – from 181,931 people in October 2007 to 360,481 people in October 2011.

“Conservatives are ignoring the cost to our economy from these delays,” said Jean Crowder, New Democrat Human Resources critic. “Last month, we saw even more job losses – and more Canadians looking for help to get them through until they find a new job. But because of Conservative cuts, the system they’ve paid for through premiums on every paycheque won’t be there for them when they need it.”

“The costs of processing EI are paid for through premiums collected from workers and employers,” added Patry. “They deserve an answer why service is declining while premiums increase.”

Canadian families have to pay their rent, mortgage, utilities and groceries every month. Unemployed workers can’t wait two months to pay these bills. EI delays are pushing more families into dire straits, with no way to pay for basic necessities.

“We want to hear from the people most affected – the workers who are waiting, and waiting, to get the benefits they applied for when they lost their jobs,” said Crowder. “So we’re going to the communities with high unemployment that are losing their local processing centres.

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