(506) 857-2125

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) is concerned about the changes to Employment Insurance (EI) coming into effect on September 25, 2022, when the temporary measures from COVID that improved our access to EI will expire.

“It will be a big blow to workers,” says Daniel Legere, NBFL President. “With inflation at an all-time high and the rising cost of heating oil and gas, food, and housing, to name a few. It will see many families facing huge hurdles this fall and winter as many seasonal industries close.”

The NBFL is urging the federal government to leave EI alone and extend the recovery measures as a bridge to permanent EI improvements. If they proceed with changes back to the old system, thousands of workers will face a massive jump in the current minimum of 420 qualifying hours for both regular and special benefits, parental, sickness and the allocation/clawback of separation payments. Women, workers of colour, and others in precarious jobs are at particular risk.

Without these supports, it would have been much worse for workers and their families due to the COVID closures, lockdowns, and layoffs. As a Statistics Canada report shows, the positive impact of an accessible EI system on workers’ lives is undeniable. An inaccessible and inadequate EI program is another disaster for workers who need access to EI now when the next crisis hits, never mind worsening COVID and inflation.

Labour, and other groups from across the country, are demanding the federal government immediately extend the temporary EI measures and implement the following permanent changes:

Expand EI access:
 A 360-hour or 12-week qualifying rule with 50 weeks of income support;
 An end to harsh disqualification rules;
 Ensure migrant workers have access to EI;
 End misclassification, a practice where employers falsely label their employees as self-employed independent contractors to avoid paying their fair share of EI and CPP;
 Improve the weekly benefit rate and include a guaranteed weekly minimum;
 Fund a new, annual federal government contribution to EI to help pay for improvements;
 Ensure EI acts as an effective economic stabilizer in times of crisis.

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For more information, please contact:
Daniel Legere
President, NBFL
506-857-2125 (w) / 506-381-8969 (c)