A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

EI & Bill C50

There has been a lot of discussion about bill C50 that “Harpers Government” has put forward to try (seems like they succeeded) to get enough support in the house to survive for a short while longer. Not being one to believe either the political partys or the press on the details of such a Bill which has been described by some as “lacking “ I actually read the text of it and was not surprised to find that this is indeed a farce. Those who think this has any kind of lasting effect on EI payments or eligibility should Read the actual wording of the bill

To sum it up, as I understand it, if one established a claim in the last 9 months or does so in the next year AND have NOT had a previous claims exceeding 36 weeks of payment in the last 5 years you would receive up to 20 weeks extra payment up to a maximum of 53 weeks. This amount to be reduced gradually depending upon when your claim is established and reduced to zero after Sep 2010. All this provided that you have paid into the system “at least 30% of the maximum annual employee’s premium” over the last 7 to15 years (also on a sliding scale). A person establishing a claim next August would receive 2 to 5 weeks extra depending upon the above criteria for instance.

It all seems fairly reasonable if one views it as a temporary measure but to call it any kind if EI reform is totally misleading. The other question is exactly what that “at least 30% of the maximum annual employee’s premium” means exactly. Is it 30% of the maximum anyone pays, so does it penalize those who have worked steadily part time for low wages? I cannot see what else they would mean, a worker pays an amount based upon his or her income to an upper limit which many of us never reach but it seems if you haven’t reached 30% of that limit you can have been working steadily struggling to make ends meet with a part time job and possibly not be considered equally in need as a full time employee.

There is no doubt that there needs to be some reform to this insurance system, particularly as the job market changes to provide less full time secure jobs and more temporary, part time or contract jobs, but this is NOT reform but just a political ploy to hang on to power.

The whole thing does not extend beyond Sept 11 2010 and so is a temporary measure.

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