EI broken promises continue in Budget 2024

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Two Unifor flags fly in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Unifor is disappointed by the key omission of Employment Insurance (EI) reform to improve eligibility and benefits for workers in federal Budget 2024.

“While our union believes this year’s budget builds upon the social fabric, one major piece of the puzzle is missing with the lack of EI reform,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. 

“We all know that losing your job can be a stressful and life-changing crisis. Having a robust employment insurance program in place would provide some income security to help prevent a downward spiral and keep people afloat until the next job.”

This year’s budget contained no transformative EI changes. In fact, it only contained one major reference to EI in relation to an extension to the flawed seasonal worker pilot program. The budget provides an additional five weeks of benefits to seasonal workers, which fell short of Unifor’s recommendation to further expand and make the program permanent.

Strengthening Canada’s Employment Insurance program is of paramount importance for workers, whether they are sick, laid-off, on leave or searching for new work, and Unifor has long been calling for a more robust EI program.

In June 2021, Unifor released a Fix Employment Insurance campaign and report, Securing an inclusive, equitable and resilient employment insurance program for workers in Canada, calling on the federal government to make significant changes to the EI program and outlining concrete recommendations aimed at expanding eligibility, improving benefits and administration.

Unifor knows that a well-functioning Employment Insurance program can bolster good jobs in the economy and provide income security for all. 
The union has been vigilant in making demands heard by hosting national lobbies on the issue, participating fully in the government’s consultation process, and by engaging members in countless direct-action initiatives.

These tireless efforts have resulted in numerous promises by the federal government to “modernize” the very broken employment insurance system.
However, the needed and promised large reforms, were yet again not delivered in Budget 2024.

“During an era filled with climate catastrophes and industrial transformations – workers need a program they can rely on and deserve to have it accessible when they need it the most,” said Payne.

“Unifor will not stop putting pressure on the Canadian government until permanent EI reform becomes a reality.”

Media Contact

Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative

Erin Harrison

Erin Harrison, National Representative, Research Department
National Representative, Research Department