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CBC Community members share their EI experiences

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The government's planned reforms to employment insurance, including changes to the definition of "suitable work" and scrapping review boards for appealing EI decisions, have been met with an overwhelming response from the CBC Community.

 Human Resources Minister Diane Finley revealed plans for reforming the employment insurance system Thursday. (Blair Gable/Reuters)Yesterday's story revealing some details of the EI reform has nearly 3,000 comments.

Some members of the CBC Community are sharing their stories of applying for and living on EI. This comment by princessdee1 is in reply to Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who said, "If you've been collecting pogey more than one year in the past five, maybe it's time to get some training, find a different line of work, or move to where the jobs are."

"I was laid off in March 2011. My EI did not start until May and was only for 38 weeks duration as I was penalized for receiving severance pay. By the time my EI ran out in the last week of January, I had applied for 52 positions in my chosen career field. I was only called for 6 interviews. As of today, that has ballooned to more than 70 positions applied for.

"I hold two diplomas (one honours) in Business Administration Management. I have eleven years experience in administration. My previous employment includes retail management & construction (carpentry). Mr. Thomas, I ask "What training could I possibly obtain that would further my employment prospects? "

"Since my EI ran out, I have been applying for jobs outside of my skill set - cleaning, newspaper courier, mail sorter, inventory clerk, etc. Mr. Thomas, what makes you think that looking for another line of work translates into obtaining another line of work. Employers will NOT hire over qualified, above average educated (more than high school), mature (45+) job seekers even when they advertise (only 15-20% of jobs are advertised) positions that state 'NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.'

"Move? How? I am now on income assistance. Will the provincial government pay for me to travel to other parts of the province or country for interviews and then pay to bring me home? Will they pay my moving expenses because I think I might have more luck finding a job somewhere else? No, they won't.

"Once again, bureaucrats and their followers make statements without doing their homework first."

CathyStJohn is currently on EI.

"If I had my choice I would definitely be working. The only drawback I see here is that those of us who want to work cannot make those companies we apply to hire us. I wish it were that simple.

"In talking to employers that I have applied to the average number of applicants are around 250 per job. How does one compete with 249 other individuals who have the same qualifications as yourself? I have expanded my job search but I can't expand much further before it will be costing me more than I will potentially be making to go to work."

CBC Community member puzzling said that not all people who draw EI every year is an "abuser."

"Why are people constantly drawing EI? Perhaps it might be because we have to. Bills do not wait and temporary agencies do not always have work.

"I traveled 2 hrs at minimum wage to take temp work when there is none available in my community. I will not pay over $20.00 for a cab and preferably less when the public transit does not have proper hours. I have a family member who gets dizzy at times and who I will not leave at home every night.

"Some people draw EI not because they do not want to work but because no one will hire them."

valleygirl2011 got a lot of response in the comments with her posts:

"I am a substitute teacher who does not work in the summer as there are no teaching jobs in my area during that time. So I file for EI as I do not have a contract for work starting in September. If I had a full time job I wouldn't need EI!

"I am a married woman with a child on the way. I don't think leaving for 2 months in the summer is an option. Not to mention who is going to hire someone for 2 months knowing they are only there temporary.

"I went to university for 5 years to teach. For 10 months of the year I pay into EI. Why should I look for work not related to teaching in a classroom when the profession I paid thousands of dollars to earn my degree in isn't available during a certain period of time?"

And CBC Community members who support the government's EI reforms also shared their personal experiences.

  • "Can't find a job? Well, you're obviously not looking hard enough. Yes, sometimes you DO have to take a lower paying job - deal with it. I did. Then I created my OWN job - self employed. It takes hard work, and I cannot collect EI (nor do I pay into it). But it's all mine, and I earn a reasonable living," said TimsRant.

  • "The problem isn't lack of jobs. The problem is lack of people willing to do crappy jobs. I have had to take my share of crappy jobs (telemarketing anyone?) But you work hard and put yourself through school to improve your skills and get a better job," said rural watchdog.

Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to comment on or challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.

Tags: Community, Community Reaction, Politics

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