Jobless Canadians are waiting longer for their first employment-insurance cheques and finding it increasingly difficult to get answers about the delays as the government reduces the number of people paid to process claims and handle calls.
The government plans to cut 600 positions at Service Canada processing centres for EI, CPP, and OAS, including closing the EI call center in Vancouver.
In September, almost 25% of calls related to EI were abandoned because callers weren’t able to reach a representative. In Nova Scotia, the Glace Bay call centre is going to be closed even though 25% of callers hang up before they can actually talk to someone.
Other programs have also been affected, like the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. Half the calls made for these services between September 26 and October 2 didn’t even get an automated message.
The most vulnerable Canadians – unemployed and seniors – already are not able to access the government services they need. Cuts Employment Insurance will only make this worse.
If you, or someone you know - a family member, a friend or neighbour - is having trouble getting help or advice on their EI, CPP, or OAS claims encourage them to call or email their MP.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.