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Cities get the cold shoulder with EI announcement

The government's October 12 announcement that they will extend two EI pilot projects for eight more months ("Best 14 Weeks" and "40 per cent Allowable Earnings") is welcome news for the many workers who find themselves in precarious employment. The government should move quickly to make them permanent features of the EI Act.

But at the same time, too many workers are being left out in the cold.

People who live in Canada's most populous urban centres are being shut out from the five-week EI extension also announced by the federal government on October 12. For those who are laid off, the cancellation of the five week extension could add up to a loss of $2,285.

This is no small matter. The vast majority of Canadians live in large urban centres.

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Columnists

Ten points in Canada's real economic update

The minister of finance has made his Fall Economic Update. We wanted to hear what he had to say about government spending -- but we didn't. Why? Because the real story is one of austerity.

The federal finance minister promised Canadians a look at what is happening with the economy. On the surface, the job is fairly straightforward. James Flaherty has to say whether the economy is growing, or not; and he has to say what he intends to do about it.

Columnists

The temporary army that battles for the economy

Economists often take the economy for an elevator. Are we going up or going down? With the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) arrow recently pointing up, instead of down, you might think the economy is improving. But output (which is what GDP measures) does not matter to people lives as much as employment and its evil twin unemployment.

Unemployment keeps wages from going up and workers from sharing in productivity gains (which have been poor lately), so it hurts all workers. Armine Yalnizyan (CCCPA), Erin Weir (Steelworkers), and Sylvain Schetagne (CLC) have been crunching the employment numbers, and each economist has a cautionary tale to relate.

Budget delivers cuts not jobs

The 2010 federal budget stuck predictably to the Conservative dogma that there is no need for a fundamental change of course. One we get past the temporary hiccup of global and national recession, we must return to a world of ever-smaller government to be achieved through continued tax reductions and deep spending cuts.

Despite the fact that unemployment is and will remain very high -- forecast in the budget itself to average 8.5 per cent this year and 7.9 per cent next year -- temporary extensions of EI benefits will expire in September of this year and some 500,000 unemployment claims filed during the Great Recession will be exhausted before claimants can find a new job.

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Photo: flickr/Simon Cunningham
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Video: We deserve better than precarious work

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...than minimum wage.
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...than unemployment.

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CANSIM Table 282-0003
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