Madam Chair, so few workers have access to employment insurance that, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the government had to come up with the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB, to make up for its failings. That's why, today, I speak on behalf of the Mouvement Action-Chômage, the Mouvement d'éducation populaire et d'action communautaire du Québec, the councils of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, chambers of commerce and first nations communities in my region, on the north shore, and elsewhere in Quebec. I am also speaking for dozens of entrepreneurs, elected officials, band councils and worker advocacy groups, from Montreal to Blanc-Sablon.
All of them have written to the federal government today demanding an overhaul of the employment insurance program so that all workers have access to benefits. They are also calling for the five additional weeks for the industry to be renewed.
That is vital not just for industries such as fisheries and tourism, but also for the cultural sector, industries that have been hammered because of the pandemic. They receive little, poor or no support. That's why the government must extend the CERB for those workers who will not be going back to their old jobs. We must make sure that they have something coming in to help them through the year ahead, which must not turn into a long-drawn-out EI gap.