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EI (Employment Insurance) is often taken for granted, until you need it.

In times of recession, when many jobs are lost and unemployment seems to last for a long time, most people think that those deductions off their pay package each month will just kick in. Well it may or it may not. Depends on where you live in Canada. Here in Metro Vancouver, you need to have worked for 700 hours before you can qualify… One hour less and you’re out of luck!

In Saskatchewan you need 420 hours to qualify. If you are a part-time employee like many women are, or if you only just got out of university or school and this is your first job. You can forget it!

Statistics from HRSDC show that 6: 10 Canadians who paid into EI do not qualify, based on the region in which they live.

Now this made sense when unemployment was low, in certain regions like BC, Alberta and Ontario, during the last decade. In these regions, if you lost a job, you were certain to find a new one, quickly.

But times are different. In this recession BC Alberta and Ontario have suffered massive sectoral job losses. It is time for government to be responsive to this reality, to be flexible, and during the recession, to set one standard rate for access to EI across the country!

… We, liberals suggest 360 hours.

…The Conservatives counter that Canadians will abuse the system!

How’s that for government trusting the hardworking stiff and being there for citizens in time of need?

Instead the Conservatives announce more $ for training.

Great! We all agree, but when you tie that training to EI eligibility and don’t improve access to EI; in regions like BC, those folks don’t qualify for training either!

Talk about hitting Canadians when they’re down.

Thanks Harper! Your government proves once again how out of touch with reality you are!
Or are is it just that you are too ideologically “bloody minded” to change?