Friday, March 04, 2011

EI Supports Cracking Head, but not Books

In honor of my sister's birthday today, and also because she just lost her EI appeal, I hope to bring attention to a a particular form of inequality that we in Canada are suffering from. My sister recently went on employment insurance payments while she returned to school last year. After graduation in May she returned to her job for three months, then went back on employment insurance scant days before having her second child in August and taking maternity leave (Shout out to baby Gareth!). 

Since she had worked for three months during the course of her EI term, and the ruling stats one is entitled to "up to 50 weeks of EI between regular and maternity benefits", she assumed that it would be added to the end of her maternity leave, allowing her to stay until May, but she was informed by the employment insurance bureau that this was not allowed, and that her benefits would be cut off in March (Et tu, EI?). Even after writing a letter of complaint and appealing the ruling she was denied, and so is forced to return to work months earlier than she and her husband had anticipated.

The worst part, the part that really chafes, is that if she had been on employment insurance because of prison, she would be allowed to stack the full time together and stay until May, which implies that it is not so much the money involved, but the notion of women bettering themselves that they disapprove of... (She's going to school? Scandal!)

As a tax paying individual, if I could have any say in where my money goes, number one would be to support people who are already going through challenging life changes (Not to say they are bad changes, just big ones) like school and new babies. Number two would be bouncy castles in all parliamentary offices, but my MP won't email me back on that issue. 

Private member's bill (See what I mean? PM Bills are sssssmokin'!) C- 378 is seeking to redress this stupidity by legislating an increase in the maximum amount of benefits obtainable when combining benefits and special benefits, but like everything useful these days, it seems to be still on First Reading. To be precise, it just received its first reading yesterday, so Happy Birthday to my sister and the bill!

Also to anyone who is following the "right to die with dignity" debate, Bill C-384 outlining the right of medical practitioners to assist someone who has outlined their free and informed desire to die has just been voted down 59 to 228.

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