Letter Concerning Accumulated Surplus in the Employment Insurance Fund

Tuesday, November 17 1998


The Honourable Paul Martin
Minister of Finance
Suite 515-S, Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Minister:

Together with many other groups across the country, the Social Affairs Commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is concerned about how the Government intends to use the accumulated surplus in the Employment Insurance fund. A number of proposals and recommendations have already been put forward in this regard.

The members of our Commission ask that the Government of Canada appropriately devote the surplus in monies collected directly to the benefit of workers. We contend that too many people are suffering from unemployment. In particular, we believe that seasonal workers such as fishers as well as women and youth warrant special attention. On this, the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should Canada not once again through concrete action manifest its conviction that all human beings have the right to honest work and fair remuneration? The poverty that is suffered by the unemployed in one blow cuts off access to fundamental rights, including the right to decent housing, the right to a nutritious diet, and the right to education.

Confident that you will further human rights through your resolution of this question, we assure you of our prayers and collaboration as members of this Episcopal Commission.

Sincerely yours,

+ Most Reverend François Thibodeau, CJM
Bishop of Edmundston
Chair of the Social Affairs Commission
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

cc.: The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada