Employment insurance fund needs to be protected

Letters to the Editor (The Telegram)
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$57 billion. That’s the amount of money this Conservative federal government and previous Liberal governments took from the employment insurance program while at the same time cutting EI benefits.


Fewer and fewer unemployed Canadians are eligible to receive support and wait times are out of control.

Here’s the kicker: Canadians are now forced to pay the EI account out of deficit — a deficit that wouldn’t exist if Liberals and Conservatives had not misappropriated the premiums.

New Democrats know that the $57-billion surplus belonged to workers and employers, not the government.

Unfortunately, Liberals and Conservatives have shown we need a law to stop the government from taking EI premiums to cover other expenditures.

That’s why I recently introduced Bill C-605. This bill puts a legal fence around the Employment Insurance Operating Account (EIOA) to make sure that the government doesn’t raid the account whenever they feel like it.

New Democrats understand the need for a properly funded EI program that is available to Canadians when they need it.

My bill legislates that money paid into the EIOA is used only to pay for EI benefits and other spending authorized under the Employment Insurance Act.

It also requires the minister in charge of the EI program to receive unanimous consent from the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) if he or she wants to close the account. The CEIC has members representing both workers and employers.

This government’s contempt for people who’ve lost their job is clear.

Recently, I asked the government if they would finally sit down with the Atlantic premiers to discuss the 2012-13 changes to employment insurance and how they affect our region.

Not only did Minister Jason Kenny suggest that the EI system was none of their business, he insulted the unemployed, saying they needed to be reminded to look for work.

Kenney’s response was offensive to all Canadians and it oversimplified the coverage provided through the EI system.

People also access employment insurance when they are too sick to work, take maternity and parental leave, or act as a caregiver to someone who is critically ill.

When Canadians who have been paying in to EI for many years need support, they shouldn’t have to wait six or eight weeks to get their benefits or be insulted in the process.

We deserve better.

That is why an NDP government will work with the provinces, workers and employers to ensure our EI system is healthy and sustainable, and there for Canadians when they need it.


Robert Chisholm

NDP MP Dartmouth–Cole Harbour



Organizations: Employment Insurance Operating Account, Conservatives, Canada Employment Insurance Commission Democrats

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Recent comments

  • sdc
    July 13, 2014 - 08:29

    I have to say Mr Chisholm is totally correct, funds that are paid into by workers and employers should be available for them when and if a time comes that they are forced to apply for it. No gov't official should have the right to use our monies ( that I have paid into for 42 years) to pay down a deficit they have caused by mismanagement. We need out MPs who we have voted in to fight for our rights to ensure our EI is there when needed.

  • Gwen Wells
    July 02, 2014 - 11:40

    I heartily agree with what Mr. Chisholm has written. People should NOT have to wait six or eight weeks for benefits they have PAID FOR. When there is a need; people should get support with their dignity intact.

  • Stephen Harpy & Peter Maccabee
    July 02, 2014 - 01:49

    THE SKY IS FALLING: WWIII is coming we need this money for aircraft. WWIII will bring sustainable growth and prosperity to all Canadians with our secular miracle of magical oil pipelines. Support WWIII by getting off of EI and 1. Selling Chevys 2. Working Offshore or 3. Enlisting and anyone not willing to sell cars, harvest oil or fight abroad for industries #1 and #2 are on the list of dissenters to be deported. NO EI FOR YOU! Depressions build character. Dum dum da dum.