featured Labour Poverty

Kendall Worth: 100 percent EI clawbacks are 100 percent wrong

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On October 3rd, 2018 Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc raised the issue of Employment Insurance (EI) clawbacks during question period at Province House.

When you are on income assistance you don’t get to keep any of your EI payments. Community Services Minister Kelly Regan said she would look into it, and get back to Susan Leblanc.

In my community this question is important because when you are on income assistance and for some reason you lose a job, Employment Insurance benefits from Service Canada would be helpful.

I wrote an open letter to the Minister about this.

From the experience of certain people who lost their jobs while on income assistance, your case worker makes it mandatory for you to apply for Employment Insurance.

I will say that many I talked to in the community are glad that Susan has asked this question in Province House.

What’s the good of being eligible for Employment Insurance benefits only for those benefits to get clawed back at 100 percent? Just like you are allowed to keep some of your earnings when you are on income assistance, you should also be able to keep at least some of your EI.

100 percent clawbacks puts people on social assistance at high risk of experiencing hardships in their lives. One person, who also lives with disabilities, was entitled to receive Employment Insurance benefits over the past six months. He found living life while his Employment Insurance benefits were getting clawed back from income assistance a major struggle.  

When you work while on Income Assistance you count on that extra money. What if you get behind in paying your bills because EI got clawed back from your income assistance? The question becomes, how are they going to get caught up?

Employment insurance is something you pay into while you are working, no matter whether it is part time or full time work.

100 percent clawbacks are 100 percent wrong. So stop the EI clawbacks!

Kendall Worth is a tireless anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.


With a special thanks to our generous donors who make it possible to pay writers such as Kendall Worth for their important stories.

Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again.