The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the Canadian economy, workers and families.

Governments shut down businesses in order to curb the spread of the virus and save lives, leaving millions of laid off workers without income.

In March and April of last year alone, Canada lost nearly three (3) million jobs. Naturally, these workers turned to the one government program that was meant to help them during times of economic hardship—Employment Insurance (EI).

However, it soon became evident that Canada’s EI system, characterized by its restrictive eligibility criteria, low benefit rates and significant gaps in coverage, would not provide the safety net that unemployed workers needed.

EI only works when unemployed people can access it, but before COVID, only 40% of unemployed people were eligible.

This fact comes to no surprise for labour and community advocates - those championing fixes to restore EI benefits to protect workers, while modernizing it to reflect the realities of today’s increasingly precarious labour market.

Rebuilding Canada’s social safety net is a key component of building back better.

Read the full report, Securing An Inclusive, Equitable And Resilient Employment Insurance Program For Workers In Canada.