Economic Equality: Myths and Realities
…0.7% of the EI benefits paid out each year.
Furthermore, the majority of people who use EI are not “frequent users”- only 17% of all claimants are chronic users of EI. There are more people who apply for EI as “long tenure” workers who have made very little use of EI, if any, compared to “frequent users.”
EI is fully financed by the contributions of employees and employers, many of whom contribute to the program for years. When workers access EI benefits, they’re accessing a pool of money that they contributed to.
Also, claimants receive only up to 55% of their regular weekly earnings, to a maximum of $514 per week on EI. These low rates compared to their usual pay are impossible to live on for low income workers. The structure of EI is already an incentive to find work.
Many Canadians do not have sufficient savings because of the increased unaffordability of housing, childcare and education, among other factors. Not to mention racialized wage disparities make the cost of living even more unaffordable for Black, Indigenous, and women of colour in Canada.
The most commonly cited reason for women in Canada ‘choosing’ to work part-time was to take care of children. Without affordable childcare in most of Canada, many women have no choice but to work fewer paid hours when they have children.
For every dollar men earn in Canada, women of colour make 64 cents and Indigenous women make 46 cents.
Work that is thought of as women’s work, such as Early Childhood Education, midwifery, nursing, and domestic work is undervalued compared to similar male-dominated fields. For example, truck drivers – 97% of whom are men – make a median salary of $45,000 per year working full time, while Early Childhood Educators – a 98% women workforce – make a median salary of just $25,000 working full time.
In Canada, young women with university degrees are paid 12% less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is the same between high school educated women and men.
In fact, women’s education levels have slightly surpassed men’s levels, yet continue to be overrepresented in part-time and minimum wage jobs.