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Unifor releases plan to build better Employment Insurance in Canada

June 14, 2021 - 12:00 AM

June 14, 2021

TORONTO – Unifor launched a broad vision for a more inclusive, equitable, and resilient Employment Insurance (EI) program for workers in Canada.

“The pandemic exposed the crisis in the existing EI program and Canadians quickly learned it was completely inadequate and that more workers needed to be able to access this program. It’s time for the federal government to rebuild the EI system so that all workers can rely on it,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Our EI program only works when unemployed people can access it and survive on the benefit. Today, that’s not the case for most workers.”

The release of Unifor’s new report starts off a week of engagement and lobbying to present the vision to members and federal decision-makers.

On Monday, June 14, 2021, union leadership will join a webinar with members and allies to present the plan and launch a sustained campaign for its implementation.

“Rebuilding our social safety net is a key component of building back better. EI needs permanent fixes if it’s going to be ready for the next economic crisis,” said Renaud Gagne, Unifor Quebec Director. “Now is the time for meaningful and transformative changes to create an EI system that is fair, accessible and inclusive.”

“We have no time to waste. Decades of cuts have left Canada’s workers vulnerable to employer exploitation and reliant on a program that leaves far too many out,” continued Dias.

In 2019, only 40% of unemployed workers had access to EI benefits. Rebuilding this social safety net is a key component of the union’s plan to Build Back Better. In the summer of 2020, as the devastation of the COVID-19 recession was becoming clear, Unifor charted its vision for a fair, inclusive and resilient economic recovery through its Build Back Better plan.

The union’s campaign and corresponding paper focuses on necessary improvements in three key areas;

  • Employment Insurance Eligibility Criteria,
  • Employment Insurance Benefits, and
  • Administration of the Employment Insurance System.

A summary of the recommendations as well as a downloadable copy of the paper is available at

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange interviews via Skype, Facetime or Zoom contact Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-458-3307 (cell) or

For French interviews, please contact Unifor Quebec Communications Representative, Marie-Andrée L'Heureux at or 514-916-7373 (cell).