Employment insurance: the CNC calls on Quebec political leaders

Employment insurance: the CNC calls on Quebec political leaders

As the federal government’s temporary employment insurance measures – deployed during the pandemic – expire on 24 next September, the Conseil national des chômeurs et chômeuses (CNC) is calling on the leaders of Quebec's political parties to take a stand on the subject.

Despite the imminent expiration of the current program, there would, according to the CNC, no reform plan to take over.

“Party leaders and spokespersons must position themselves on the importance of the social safety net. When a worker in Quebec loses his or her job and is denied employment insurance, what happens? Responsibility for the social safety net is then transferred from the federal government to Quebec. Hence the importance for Quebec political leaders to speak out on the issue,” said Pierre Céré, spokesperson for the CNC.

Accompanied by Nicolas Miot, advisor to the Montreal Unemployment Committee, Pierre Céré is currently on its way to Ottawa.

The two men, who left Montreal on September 14, decided to reach the capital on foot, in order to draw attention to the imminent expiry of the measures in place and the absence of a replacement program.

Multiple demands

The CNC and the Montreal Unemployment Committee fear the return of “obsolete and unfair parameters” and denounce “the inhuman administrative delays” faced by service providers.

“The return to outdated and unfair parameters of employment insurance is a bad decision, with serious consequences. In particular, it ensures that one in four applicants is refused, even if they have worked and contributed, deplores the CNC spokesperson. And what about the workers who will not be able to qualify, or the sick people who are waiting for the extension of sickness benefits? We must act, and the Quebec political class must speak out on this issue.”

The social safety net is holed, employment insurance will let down, with the return to its outdated and unfair parameters, thousands of workers

Pierre Céré, spokesperson for the National Council of the unemployed

In its list of demands, the CNC calls for the improvement of sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, which would have already been delayed.

In addition, the group calls for the extension of the temporary measures until to the implementation of a new reform, “including the expansion of the program to the world of self-employment”.

The two men should cross the doors of the Canadian capital on September 24th. Currently close to Montebello at the time of this writing, they hope to be able to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once they arrive at their destination.

“There have been several exchanges, but we have not yet had confirmation that this meeting will take place. In any case, it is strongly desired,” says Pierre Céré.

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