EI injustice keeping cash away from those who need it

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To the Editor,

A great injustice is being imposed on the workers of Canada by Prime Minister Harper and his government that I feel it must be written about, concerning Employment Insurance benefits.
This concerns all that work and pay each pay into Employment benefits so in the case of layoffs or sickness, we can draw benefits. However most of us know we are paying higher than need be for these benefits for the amount we will receive. The government tells us that this is done so the money will be there when we will need to draw it, so we accept this as true so we pay.
This is not to say we have any choice in the matter because we do not, but we can hold the government accountable for this money and how it is spent.
This government has been taking from this fund of surplus money to use for other programs they feel are OK. However this week they have had to put money back into this fund due to the great number of workers being laid off. But to make things even worse the workers are expected to wait as much as six to eight weeks just to qualify for these benefits.
That is even for sick benefits where there is no waiting period. How long will it take to get regular benefits - your guess is as good as mine. Going back to what I said earlier, Mr. Harper said the money would be there when we needed it.
Well, Mr. Harper, it is not here when we need it maybe because you used it and now you have to find where you can take it from. Maybe that is why we have to wait so long to get the benefits we paid for. And how long do you think our bills will wait?
Myself, I applied Feb. 23, 2009 and today in the mail dated March 24, 2009 I received as E.I. Benefit statement for sick benefits that read: We are working on your claim. A decision will be made soon.
I have been off work from a heart attack since Feb. 10, 2009. Like I said, no waiting period, just processing time - for a decision will be made soon! Now I paid every pay to insure my wages for 55 per cent of my working pay. But because I have started drawing my Canada Pension at 60 it was reduced. Now I am being told they will be reducing my benefits dollar for dollar because I am getting Canada Pension.
They are still taking the full deductions every pay for E.I. benefits so I feel that they owe me my full 55 per cent of my wages. Also I paid into Canada Pension for 43 years to get this pension, how can they take it off my sick benefits. This I feel is unjust to Canada's pensioners and to its workers. How can they expect us to live on this low income? Is this what Canada is all about? When the government cannot live in their budget without taking from the E.I. benefits and hurting those people when they most need it. Shame on you. After working for 43 years one expects to get their pension they paid for and E.I. benefits which they also paid for without all this claw back and waiting from the government.
Rubin Millard, Oxford
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Recent comments

  • Rick
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    EI is a joke in this country. In the 80's the then conservative government changed the act. Thousands of serving members of the Canadian forces were no longer allowed to draw from the fund with the swoop of a pen. I wrote my then MP to say that if all forces members who had 20 or more years of service were no longer going to be able to draw fine EI but we should no longer have to pay for it. My MP wrote back that he was sending my letter to the then Minister of defense in an attempt to alarm me I believe (didn't work). I also wrote the then and several following ministers of finance about this injustice. I have never received the same or a fair response on this question. I continued to pay EI for nothing after leaving the Forces in 1992 and until my final retirement in 2006. I never in my life drew a single dollar of EI benifits. I never qualified for any part of EI except to have it deducted from my pay of course.

  • shirley
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    good luck with your e.i claim,this is money we worked for we earned it,but yet applying for e.i is like trying to take out a loan,you might get it,and you might not,this ranks right up there with
    harpers big boost in e.i,the five additional
    weeeks,that no one seems to qualify for.