Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seasonal Unemployment

It would appear that there is significant support from the Blogging Tory audience to make people who are unemployed more often pay higher EI premiums after each claim. People who have had the same job for 20 years currently pay the same rate as people who are frequently unemployed, be they habitually unemployed or a seasonal worker who may or may not look for off-season work. We have a lot of workers in Canada who work in industries that don't operate in the winter, and many of those workers collect EI on an annual basis.

I expect the majority of seasonal workers can't live on 55% of their income in the off-season and get another job, but everyone knows a few people who collect EI every year and don't look for work while their industry is idle. The seasonally unemployed don't pay enough into the EI fund to pay the cost of their annual payout, so the people who sustain continuous employment are left paying the cost for people who don't work in the winter.

Even if escalating premiums for repeat claimants (like your car insurance) is a great idea with a strong base for support, I doubt that this will ever become law in Canada. I don't know exactly how big this seasonally unemployed demographic is, but I do know that the Tories would never introduce this policy for fear of losing votes. Many rural ridings have significant proportions of their labour force doing seasonal work, and any party would be too afraid of losing potential voters in ridings where they can't afford to lose any votes to do something that would likely be supported by the majority of the population. Like it or not, I think the status quo is here to stay.

1 comment:

  1. I'm one of those guys that often gets seasonally laid off,and I don't mind if we have to pay higher premiums, it's only fair.

    BUT, there are many "workers" in depressed areas of Canada who only work a few weeks a year,and then depend on UI/EI for a living the rest of the year,think Atlantic Canada.

    Any government that screws with "the dole" in the Maritimes can rest assured they will NEVER elect a single candidate from there, so Harper might as well look elsewhere to save money.

    How about NOT giving special status to "family class" immigrants,and instead import educated and skilled workers who will contribute almost immediately on arrival, just for a start.