MP REPORT: Time to improve employment insurance sick benefits

It is time to improve Employment Insurance. 

Last week I joined with my NDP colleagues to call on the federal government to increase sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks. 

We added our voices to Marie-Hélène Dubé’s, who started the petition “15 weeks to heal is not enough!”, as well as the more than half a million people who signed it, demanding the government keep its promise to reform the Employment Insurance Act.

More than a third of Canadians claim EI need much more than the 15-week maximum currently offered. In 2016, both the Prime Minister and his Minister of Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, promised to extend EI sickness benefits. Five years ago, while in the opposition, Justin Trudeau voted in favour of Bill C-291 that extended Employment Insurance sick benefits from 15 to 50 weeks.

But the government has done nothing.

The federal government needs to have the courage to take action and keep its promise. Thousands of people across the country need these benefits. The government cannot ignore them, it must do something to help Canadians who are sick and who need help.

It is time for action.