Unifor’s Recommendations


1. Employment Insurance (EI) Eligibility Criteria

❏ Improve EI accessibility by replacing the Variable Entrance Requirement (VER) with a Standardized Entrance Requirement of 360 hours across Canada and base the qualifying hours and duration for existing claims on the most favourable time period.

❏ Eliminate all disqualifications for quitting a job to return to school or to attend to family responsibilities and remove the “quit-fire” disqualification.

❏ Eliminate the allocation of separation payments, including the assignment of severance and termination monies to the front end of an EI claim, and remove social assistance claw backs.

❏ Ensure Working While on Claim rules do not claw back benefits from the first dollar of earnings, and ensure access to benefits for workers who work multiple part time jobs.

❏ Work with relevant federal ministries and departments to ensure all migrant workers in Canada have full access to regular and special EI benefits, open work permits and access to permanent immigration status.

❏ Expand EI benefits to cover longer periods of domestic or sexual violence leave.

❏ Expand access to EI during labour disputes, including during a lockout.

❏ Increase the EI tax recovery and claw back threshold.


2.  Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

❏ Permanently eliminate the one week waiting period during which no benefits are payable.

❏ Increase duration of benefits to 50 weeks in all regions across the country.

❏ Extend the duration of EI sickness benefits to 50 weeks, explore ways to create greater flexibility in benefit delivery and incentivize employer-sponsored workplace sick leave programs.

❏ Eliminate the 50-week limit on combined special benefits and unemployment benefits and extend the reference and benefit period to at least 104 weeks.

❏ Guarantee a minimum EI benefit floor of $500.

❏ Increase the income replacement rate to 75% of previous earnings from current 55% and raise the ceiling on insurable earnings.

❏ Expand the Skills Boost to allow unemployed workers to enrol in educational programs full-time without losing EI benefits.

󠄏 Improve the Canada Training Benefit to strengthen lifelong learning.

❏ Encourage adoption of workplace supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) plans.

❏ Expand the EI Work Sharing program.


3. Administration of the Employment Insurance (EI) System

❏ Renew support for tripartite dialogue between unions, employers and government on matters of EI and labour market transitional supports.

❏ Prioritize funding for unemployed help centres and institute multi-year core funding.

❏ Review the financing of the EI program and reinstate federal contributions.

❏ Return to a tripartite EI board of referees’ model for first-level appeals with the appropriate reporting mechanisms in place.

❏ Restore regional EI liaison program officers.


4. Other

❏ Immediately undertake a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder consultation on the expansion of EI coverage, and financing of EI benefits, to include those that are self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors, and “gig” workers.