The federal Liberal government is apparently being praised for changing only one detail in the Employment Insurance Act. And with all the confusion in the terms and the way it is joyously written, you’d think there was a major overhaul that took place.
The detail being changed is the waiting time it takes to file a claim. In a disclaimer at the end of the article, we are told the processing time may be up to 8 weeks. No change there.
So let’s get this straight. You lose your job, and God forbid your employer lies and says it was your fault, and you receive the salary left owed to you and the vacation pay left to take. When all this is received, you need to wait a week to apply for EI. After you apply, you will get paid after up to 8 weeks. And there’s usually no back pay.
When people marched against this when the Conservatives were in power, they wanted a bit more than just a week less of waiting. They wanted a bit more than 55% of your salary paid to you. They wanted a bit more than a cap on the payments to be received every second Tuesday.
It starts off with your employer being a liar just because he didn’t like you. In my case years ago, when I qualified for the maximum of $35k a year, my employer wrote that I was fired for fraud. The EI office only made me aware of this when I called to inquire where the process for my payments was. I told the woman on the phone that my employer was a liar.
I called the MAC, a French acronym for Employment Insurance Action Movement. It was about 11 AM. The next day before noon I called back and they told me that they called my employer and found inconsistencies in her story. How convenient, I thought. What would have happened if I hadn’t known the organization?
This scenario will remain intact except for the 1 week of waiting time. Luckily, I had enough money to get by for the 3 weeks I had to wait to get a cheque. Some people are not that lucky. Some of them have families to take care of. Otherwise hard workers and honest taxpayers, these people risk falling into the abyss of a financially precarious situation. If something goes wrong through no fault of theirs (like the government deciding you lost your job on purpose and withholding benefits ), they soon have to deal with bill collectors and foreclosures. And all this because their employer was an ass.
Tips to follow:
1. Apply for EI as soon as you lose your job.
2. Don’t think things will work out. Make their lives a living hell by calling daily.
3. Find an organization like the one I mentioned near you.
4. Make sure you tell your employer you want this to go smoothly and the you know your rights. You can even give them the number of the organization.
After all this, make sure you follow the government’s rules. You need to prove you’re looking for a job by telling them where you applied. And be truthful because they may ask for proof. If you decide to leave the country, tell them. They may cut your premiums outright if they catch you lying.
Now you’re empowered. Make sure everyone you know is made aware of this as well.