Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
December 31, 2011

EI claimants turn to welfare in the face of processing delays

A huge backlog has forced EI claimants to seek help at the welfare office, making the holiday season even more stressful and frustrating. For claimants, the New Year does not promise to be a good one so far, with the responsible Minister, Diane Finley, re-cycling her tired line that the ongoing automation of the processing system will save the day.

“Four years of automated claims processing has not delivered results for claimants,” said CEIU Manitoba National Vice-President Susan Norman, “and staff cuts are making a bad situation worse.”

The Winnipeg Free Press recently reported that Manitoba, despite having a low unemployment rate, has seen an increase in the number of welfare recipients. Part of the reason is the delay in the processing of EI claims, according to experts like Neil Cohen of the Winnipeg Unemployed Help Centre.

Minister Finley recently enraged CEIU members by blaming delays on a work to rule campaign by the union. The union has denied the allegation and demanded an apology.

CEIU has been consistent in its call for a return to adequate staffing levels to ensure that claimants are paid in a timely manner. The unemployed have a right to receive help when they need it and CEIU members deserve the resources they require to get the job done.

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