Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition to the government that calls for universal access to employment insurance.
Employment insurance unfairly penalizes women in terms of their access to benefits. Only 35.2% of unemployed women are eligible for regular EI benefits compared to 52.5% of men. The petitioners are therefore calling on the Government of Canada to enhance the current employment insurance system to ensure universal access to it.
To achieve that, they want the government to do the following: lower the eligibility threshold to 350 hours or 13 weeks instead of 420 to 700 hours; establish a minimum threshold of 35 weeks of benefits instead of 14 weeks; increase the benefit rate to 70% of salary based on the best 12 weeks of salary instead of 55%; annually index the levels of the family supplement, including a retroactive readjustment as of 1997, calculated based on individual income rather than family income; eliminate total exclusions resulting from resignation or misconduct; and amend the Employment Insurance Act so that any absence related to pregnancy, maternity or parental responsibilities does not prevent access to regular employment insurance benefits.