Use UI Surplus for Benefits

October 7, 1998


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Use UI Surplus for Benefits
Use UI Surplus for Benefits
dated October 7, 1998 

Use UI Surplus for Benefits

How to spend the 20 billion-dollar UI Fund surplus is the wrong question. The real issue is that only 42 per cent of unemployed workers qualify for benefits.

Laurell Ritchie
CAW National Rep.
"We only have a surplus because workers aren't getting benefits. This has been a problem now for a few years ever since the government changed the system fundamentally and we have people who aren't qualified for benefits we have people who are getting them for a shorter period of time. They are getting a lower benefit rate and in some cases are having to pay back large amounts at tax time through a claw back."

The people who administer the UI fund are being frustrated by the Draconian rules they are being forced to enact. They know what the consequences are first hand.

Alan Lennon
C.E.I.U. Regional Rep.

"What happens to people who can not get unemployment insurance is they end up on welfare. And when they end up on welfare they are in poverty and when you get into poverty, that kind of poverty you get trapped and by and large they are caught there for years and years and years. What we need is the insurance program to help people get through periods of unemployment, to get back to work."


The UI system is funded completely by the workers and employers. The government's plan to use the surplus for other purposes is illegal.



Laurell Ritchie
CAW National Rep.
"They have said should we be putting this into premium reduction, should we be doing tax cuts, should we be putting money into health care and this is all absolute nonsense. They don't have any legal right to use it for those purposes."

In 1990, 80 per cent of unemployed workers received UI benefits. Today only 42 per cent get them. Returning to 80 per cent wouldn't even use up the annual surplus.

Laurell Ritchie
CAW National Rep.
"The government can accomplish both the re-instatement of the benefits as they were once going out to people and at the same time we would have roughly 12 billion dollars still in a surplus which is fair enough. We need a surplus for the next recession but 12 billion would be plenty."

Saving the UI fund will depend on individual workers getting involved.

Laurell Ritchie
CAW National Rep.
"What workers need to be doing everywhere is writing their member of parliament and they need to be writing into their local newspapers as well. We have an opportunity while there is a debate is going on about this surplus to in fact wake up the public and have them realize that we have a system that is not paying out unemployment insurance benefits any longer."


CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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