Unifor hosted its annual EI/CPP Conference in Port Elgin on October 26-29, bringing members together from across the country to engage in workshops and discussions aimed at learning more about the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan and strengthening Unifor's campaign to improve Employment Insurance.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we collectively had a moment where permanent and much needed reforms to EI had never been so politically possible,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “And yet, here we are, without the changes that would benefit workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, but make no mistake, we are going to keep organizing and fighting for Employment Insurance that works for all workers.”
The conference opened with welcoming remarks from Hugo Desgagné (National Representative, Unifor) and Dan Cushenan (ORC EI-CPP Committee Chairperson), followed by a panel discussion titled "Making Our Issues Political" featuring Pam Frache (Justice for Workers), José Bazin (FTQ) and Marc Brennan (Chairperson at Ford Oakville Assembly Plant at Unifor Local 707).
“We pay for EI, we are entitled to EI,” said Pam Frache, Organizer at the Workers’ Action Centre working on the Justice For Workers campaign.
On day two, delegates engaged in a series of workshops covering various aspects of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and appeals. The afternoon plenary sessions continued with presentations on the history of the new Board of Appeal, CPP/QPP changes, and mental health tools available to assist members.
During the third day, members discussed the Regional Enquiry Unit (REU) Pilot with a panel that included Stephan Cronin (Benefits Representative, Unifor Local 88), Mike Rafuse (Service Representative, Unifor Local 222), Paul Ivey (Service Representative, Unifor Local 707) and Erin Harrison (National Representative, Unifor), followed by a discussion on supportive ways to get help with difficult claims. The final day’s closing plenary reviewed key conference insights.
The conference was followed up on November 1 as Unifor members participated in an online “Phone Zap” organized by the Justice For Workers campaign. Members called MPs to demand reforms to Employment Insurance that will ensure support for workers when they need it.
A well-functioning EI program can bolster good jobs in the economy and provide income security for all. To learn more about Unifor’s campaign to fix EI, visit: Fix Employment Insurance