Most unemployeed Hamiltonians not getting EI beneifits

Hamilton, ON, Canada / AM900 CHML

Out of work Hamiltonians are not getting their Employment Insurance benefits.

A recent report by Press Progress shows only 21.6 per cent of Hamilton’s unemployed are receiving employment insurance benefits.

Deirdre Pike with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton describes the employment climate is precarious with many workers working part-time hours, short-term contracts and temporary positions.

“With the kind of employment available in Hamilton, people just aren’t able to access the kind of jobs that would make you eligible and therefore they are not able to access EI,” Pike told the Scott Thompson Show, Wednesday. “When we look at the kinds of jobs that have replaced out good and stable manufacturing jobs of the past, they’re in the service industry. They’re giving you (fewer) hours than necessary to get benefits.”

Pike points to the Harper Government’s new EI regulations which stipulate a worker needs between 180 and 300 insurable hours of work in order to qualify for EI payments.

“At the end of that year when the contract ends they find themselves unable to access EI, and they’ve paid into it,” said Pike. “This is the reality. There is a pool of money there, people are paying into all the time, and when they need it to transfer, to look for another position, that pot of money is not there. And that’s not right.”

Press Progress is an arm of the think-tank Broadbent Institute. Its report titled “Unemployed? Good luck getting EI as eligibility hits all-time low” also showed  Canada has hit a new low as fewer Canadians can access EI benefits at 36.6 per cent.

The report suggested Hamilton seems to be one of the hardest hit city when it comes to tighter rules to access EI benefits.

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