Broken EI System Continues to Fail Canadians as Thousands More Unemployed, CAW President Says

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Labour market figures released earlier today by
Statistics Canada show that 42,000 more Canadians were thrown out of work in
the month of May, with an estimated 18,000 of them joining the already swelled
ranks of unemployed workers who cannot receive benefits through Canada's
fractured unemployment insurance (EI) system.
    "Each month it seems another tidal wave of bad news hits Canadian
workers, families and communities right across the country, as job losses
continue to mount," said CAW President Ken Lewenza, in response to the latest
Labour Force Survey employment data released on June 5 that shows overall
Canadian employment drop by over 360,000 since October.
    "It's absolutely disgraceful and gut-wrenching to see so many unemployed
workers in this country suffering because they simply can't access basic EI
benefits under our broken system."
    Lewenza called the Harper government's refusal to provide long-overdue
reforms to the EI system heartless, especially as more Canadians are faced
with insecurity in one of the most turbulent economic times in history.
    Canada's unemployment rate (8.4%) is at its highest point in 11 years,
thanks in large part to massive job losses in the important auto and
manufacturing sectors (186,000 since October) and the rapid drop in overall
full-time employment (406,000 since October).
    The survey also publishes regional unemployment rates that are used to
determine qualifying requirements and duration of EI benefits for laid off
workers over the course of the month. In 33 of the 59 EI regions, average
unemployment has increased. In 20 of those regions, the unemployment has risen
sufficiently to change the qualifying requirements for those laid off in June.
    The CAW has called on the federal government to introduce a suite of EI
reforms, including an across-the-board reduction in qualifying hours, increase
to the benefit level, elimination of the two-week waiting period and an
extension in benefits.

For further information:

For further information: CAW Communications: Angelo DiCaro, (cell) (416)
606-6311 or for questions regarding EI and unemployment rate figures, contact
CAW National Representative Laurell Ritchie, (cell) (416) 917-0047

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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