FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2024

The pockets of the unemployed are empty!
Charlottetown, March 4, 2024 – In anticipation of the federal budget tabling, PEI Federation of Labour, accompanied by their allies, sent Randy Boissonault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, dozens of empty wallets and purses. The aim of this action was to draw attention to the reality lived by the unemployed, and to urge the government to take action on unemployment insurance.
The feedback from groups defending the rights of the unemployed is clear: the current unemployment insurance regime fails to meet the needs of workers, and leaves whole sections of the population out in the cold. The situation of the unemployed is urgent, whether it’s seasonal industry workers who find themselves in the black hole, mothers who lose their unemployment protection when they take parental leave, or precarious workers who too often find themselves excluded from the program.
“The message we want to send with this gesture is that real people are paying the price for the government’s inaction on unemployment insurance. This is no longer the time for consultations, the shortcomings of the system have been demonstrated and the solution that could really increase and democratize unemployment insurance eligibility are known” explains Carl Pursey, President PEI Federation of Labour.
The unemployment insurance reform promised by Justin Trudeau’s government is long overdue. What unemployed advocacy groups want to see in the next budget are concrete steps to improve access to unemployment insurance and enhance the benefits offered:

  • A universal eligibility standard, based on 350 hours;
  • A minimum floor of 35 weeks of benefits;
  • A benefit rate of at least 70% based on the best 12 weeks of work;
  • Protection in the event of unemployment, regardless of maternity, parental or paternity benefits received.
    The reform must take shape!

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