As Canada faces major forest fires, the National Council of Unemployed Workers (NCUW) is concerned about the impact of this crisis on workers.
“In several regions, the situation is serious. This particularly affects seasonal workers, many of whom have already exhausted their Employment Insurance benefits. What is the government planning to do?” asks Pierre Céré, spokesperson for the NCUW.
“Experts are not reassuring for this summer. The work periods in many industries such as tourism and forestry are likely to be shortened, and some workers will not be able to accumulate the number of hours required to obtain their benefits at the end of the season”.
For the moment, the government has not yet responded financially to this situation. The NCUW is calling for the introduction of special measures for affected workers, and more broadly for a complete reform of the EI program.
“We keep saying that EI needs to be reformed, that following COVID-19, the government should not wait for the next crisis to act on the social safety net. If they had listened to us and followed through on their commitments to reform EI, we wouldn’t be asking these questions today. How many more years will we have to wait? How many crises will it take for them to understand?”