Why isn't EI there when you need it?

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Editor,

First of all, I want to state that I do not draw employment insurance. That being said, I have been following the recent changes to the EI system and the story of Marlene Geirsdorf of Montaque.

In my opinion, the new changes to the employment insurance system are unfair and unequal in nature. 

The federal government is focusing their efforts on repeat users. The majority of these repeat users are between the ages of 40 and 65 and have been paying into the employment insurance account for over 40 or more years. They do not sit behind a desk but labour in the fields, on the water and in factories. They work long, backbreaking days in the heat, the rain and the cold. Many have major health issues that make their time working not only tiring but painful. 

Just working the hours needed to draw EI in the winter is an uphill battle. Many in this group are uneducated, computer illiterate and do not qualify for the jobs listed on the job bank.

I realize that there are those who think these people should want to upgrade their education and skills, but most have families to support, bills to pay and have jobs already, even if those jobs are seasonal.

What about the Islanders that go out West to work? They usually return to the Island in the summer to spend time with their families and friends. I could be wrong but I think that they draw employment insurance while they are here. Will they be told to find work or be cut off?

We were told by Gail Shea that if there are no jobs in your area then EI is there for you. Well then, why was Ms. Geirsdorf's benefits stopped? Why are some people called to provide proof they are looking for work while others are not? 

Businesses trying to hire part-time help are going to find this more difficult than ever before. If you are on EI and work part-time you will be working for $5 an hour. You will also need to continue to look for full-time work or be disqualified. Businesses will find their part-time positions filled by people forced to work there by the government. Do you think they will be reporting to work with smiles and enthusiasm?

Ms. Geirsdorf's story is getting attention all across our country. Perhaps if others were to make their stories told it would make a difference. 

Whether you work seasonal or full-time or part-time, are retired or run your own business, this issue affects us all. Let's stand together and support each other as Islanders and as Canadians.

Rose Hicken

Kensington

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • just sayin'
    February 07, 2013 - 08:21

    EI is solely paid for by employers and employees yet our government acts like they pay for it. The bloated bureaucracy that "manages' it, lives off it and its employees are very well paid to look down their noses at the recipients of it. Several years ago, the gov't stole the 'surplus', as they called it, to pay down the deficit (corporate welfare). They were betting that the 90% of Canadians, lucky enough not to need it, wouldn't balk.The gamble paid off! If anything, the dividend of billions should have been paid back to the people who paid all their lives and never used it and the businesses and those who used it sparingly and not as a career strategy. The current Harper gov't came to power, driven by the winds of western alienation and now it seems, the shoe is on the other foot and it is more of an eastern alienation. Years ago, I read a book titled Animal Farm. Many aspects of that piece of important and relevant literature, apply here. The system does need to be modernized. Start by putting it in the hands of a coalition of labor, rights advocates, poverty groups etc or give people and business the option of not being covered and not paying. There must be a better and more equitable way to go forward that serves everyone.

  • just sayin'
    February 07, 2013 - 08:18

    EI is solely paid for by employers and employees yet our government acts like they pay for it. The bloated bureaucracy that "manages' it, lives off it and its employees are very well paid to look down their noses at the recipients of it. Several years ago, the gov't stole the 'surplus', as they called it, to pay down the deficit (corporate welfare). They were betting that the 90% of Canadians, lucky enough not to need it, wouldn't balk.The gamble paid off! If anything, the dividend of billions should have been paid back to the people who paid all their lives and never used it and the businesses and those who used it sparingly and not as a career strategy. The current Harper gov't came to power, driven by the winds of western alienation and now it seems, the shoe is on the other foot and it is more of an eastern alienation. Years ago, I read a book titled Animal Farm. Many aspects of that piece of important and relevant literature, apply here. The system does need to be modernized. Start by putting it in the hands of a coalition of labor, rights advocates, poverty groups etc or give people and business the option of not being covered and not paying. There must be a better and more equitable way to go forward that serves everyone.

  • Nick
    February 07, 2013 - 07:43

    I just want to second the comment I read stating that the government does not put one cent into the EI fund, employers and employees do, yet the government raises our premiums and puts more and more restrictions on eligibility. If there is any shortage in the EI fund it is not because there are too many people drawing on it but because the government continually takes money out of it! Also, there was a 5 billion surplus in our EI fund some years back and I can remember the government 'borrowing' it but it never was paid back...

  • Evan Clow
    January 30, 2013 - 17:29

    This is just an average islanders opinion of the current EI situation on Prince Edward Island. I believe that the federal government should not be allowed to place stipulations on the EI claims as we work for that money and they have no problem collecting an ei premium as deductions on peoples pay checks so therefore it is our money anyway so they are basically telling us that we can not have our own money which i think is absolutely rediculous. People need to wake up and realize that the government works for the people not the other way around. Tierny is when the people fear the government and liberty is when the government fears the people. Thank you for your time and for listening. Evan Clow Summerside, PEI

  • Rose Hicken
    January 21, 2013 - 18:04

    To CHECK YOUR FACTS: I was not talking about people who come home on vacation. I was talking about families whose husbands or wives work out West all spring, winter and fall. They come home and spend the entire summer with their families. I also did not say that I was positive that they draw EI and I was not condemning them if they do. I was simply stating a fact.

  • Concerned
    January 19, 2013 - 12:11

    I thought the E.I. fund was payed into by Employers and employees. Then why is the Government sticking it's nose in here when it is not funded by them. Did't the Government in Ottawo take 5 million out of the E.I.fund a few years back and what was it used for. That is a worse abuse then a few Islands drawing a tiny amount till they get work. Government shame on you.

    • Check your facts
      January 21, 2013 - 16:24

      We are former Islanders who had to move out West when my husband lost his job of 22 years which was full time. His only other option was work construction which as we know is seasonal on PEI. We fly home to PEI every couple of years to see family and contrary to what you insinuate Ms. Hicken our family of 3 flies home on our own dime and do not draw unemployment. What we use is what full time workers call vacation pay not EI. Don't get me wrong until the move to Alberta I've work seasonal for a lot of years as the full time work was not there and still isn't. I agree totally that the Maritimes being largely seasonal is getting the shaft with this new EI bill..

    • Check your facts
      January 21, 2013 - 16:25

      We are former Islanders who had to move out West when my husband lost his job of 22 years which was full time. His only other option was work construction which as we know is seasonal on PEI. We fly home to PEI every couple of years to see family and contrary to what you insinuate Ms. Hicken our family of 3 flies home on our own dime and do not draw unemployment. What we use is what full time workers call vacation pay not EI. Don't get me wrong until the move to Alberta I've work seasonal for a lot of years as the full time work was not there and still isn't. I agree totally that the Maritimes being largely seasonal is getting the shaft with this new EI bill..

  • Aaron
    January 19, 2013 - 01:03

    I believe it is high time the officials we ELECT into office stop voting themselves raises every two or three years, on top of the phenomena benefits, perks and so forth that come with their jobs, and put some of the money back where it belongs. It's about time for all Canadians to start an "Idle No More" against all the corruption in politics. I would love to see any politician live a month on pogey wages. The P.E.I. govt is the first ones I would love to see take this challenge.

  • Ann-Marie Bernard
    January 18, 2013 - 17:35

    I so totally agree with Ms Hicken. I have and am still in the process of writing all PEI MP's, PEI Senators, Diane Finley and the Prime Minister. There may need to be changes made in the EI Program but this hacking and cutting Seasonal and Repeat users is not the right direction. I also agree that we need to stand together as PEI Canadians. Ms Hicken is also correct on several other areas the age, I am 56; I am a two time survivor of Breast Cancer,a Diabetic and I have Arthritis. I struggle to do my job but take a lot of pride in doing a good job. I have taken every course my employer has offered and a few in my own over the last six years. I am a seasonal repeat user and I have worked in the farming, fishing and now the tourism industries for the last 36 years. I work hard and strive to go above what is expected of me. I am a Provincal Park worker in the eastern part of the Island and have been so going into my 17th season and I love my job. I will also fight to keep both of my means of income. Thank you Ms Hicken for your well thought out and supportive letter.

    • Rita MacLean
      January 18, 2013 - 22:03

      I so appreciate Ms. Hicken's letter. I worked in a fish plant for 15+ years but have since found full-time employment. When working seasonal, I worked everyday my employer was operating. This was a very physical job and at times there was long hours. (such as that of a fisherman or farmer). To be honest, we needed a little time off to heal our bodies and reconnect with our families. These jobs are a necessity to our island's economy as is tourism. I believe most worker in these industries would work full-time if their jobs allow. I know some do work in the winter whether it be grading potatoes, or in my case, we made chowder and at times were called in to package a special order from our storage facility. I know quite a few people who are lucky to be able to continue their seasonal jobs (which I truly did enjoy) and find little jobs in the winter. However, they want to return to that seasonal job. Without having to quit full-time job they may have been forced to take and thus disqualifying them the following year because they left a full-time job to go to a seasonal one....confused yet? These seasonal jobs are very honourable. They require skill, stamina, and loyalty. We stick to our jobs regardless of poor catches, poor weather, decreased amounts of visitors to the island, etc. I believe everyone pays into this Insurance program and as a full-time employee, I am proud in the belief I am supporting the seasonal workers in some way. Yes, there are the offenders of the system and some very capable workers sitting around on EI. Spend the money investigating them, dig in and figure out the problem. Encourage people to work! Let them know they have employable skills. (Stepping out of their field would be a very scary thing to most.) Do not impoverish and degrade them. There must be a better way. Work with these exact people to find a solution...now I bet that would be quite a "high-paying/full-time job"!