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Non-standard work and access to unemployment benefits in Canada: Assessing policy options

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Fewer than half of unemployed workers in Canada receive unemployment benefits. One of the reasons for this is that many workers in non-standard employment relationships, who represent a growing segment of the labour market, are excluded based on Employment Insurance (EI) eligibility criteria. EI was designed at time when standard employment relationships were far more prevalent and the system has not adapted to reflect the growth of part-time, temporary and self-employed work. Lack of access to unemployment benefits contributes to economic insecurity among non-standard workers, most of whom are women, low income and non-unionized. This study fills a gap in the literature by providing a comparative analysis of policy options for unemployment benefit reform with a focus on increasing access among workers in non-standard employment.
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