Hundreds Rally in Toronto for EI Improvements
March 6, 2009, 1:50 PM EST
Five hundred protestors gathered along a narrow city block outside a Service Canada employment insurance office in downtown Toronto on March 5 demanding improvements to Canada's fractured EI system.
Organized by the Good Jobs for All Coalition - a labour-community alliance of over 35 organizations - the rally brought together hundreds of unemployed workers from across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as employment insurance claims officers, calling for immediate changes that improve access to EI benefits.
Community and labour leaders addressed the crowd, including Peggy Nash, Assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza. Nash emphasized the importance of the fight to improve access to EI as the global economic crisis continues to hammer Canadian workers. Other speakers included Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice President Marie Clarke Walker, Toronto and York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright and United Steelworkers Action Centre Coordinator Dave Parker.
The rally is the first of many events scheduled to take place throughout Ontario in the coming weeks focused on improving EI, including a town hall meeting in the London-St. Thomas region on March 14 and a demonstration at an employment insurance office in Scarborough on March 16.
Other events will be held in Hamilton on March 21 and Brampton on March 31.