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Publishing date: Jan 31, 2022

Employment Insurance recipients in Canada are waiting months to receive their benefits instead of the promised 28 days.

Blacklock’s Reporter said MPs are complaining about the lack of response from federal call centres despite Ottawa spending more than $620 million since 2016 to better serve EI claimants.

“I consider this urgent,” Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot told the Commons human resources committee.

“There is nothing that can explain why there is a processing backlog that has reached such an incredibly high level. We are facing an urgent situation for many people applying for EI who are suffering the dramatic impacts of delays in processing of their claims.”

Since 2016, the employment department tripled the number of agents from 1,100 to 3,000, but a Nov. 1, 2021 briefing note blamed delays on the pandemic and “unprecedented EI claim volumes.”

At its height, the EI Call Centre system was receiving 280,000 calls daily, and wait times averaged as much as 85 minutes last winter.

“With ongoing improvements, the EI call centres have been able to significantly reduce wait times,” said the briefing note.

Even before the pandemic, the Employment Department said claimants had to call repeatedly before ever reaching someone.

“Two thirds of clients, 65%, said on average they had to call more than once,” said a 2017 Employment Insurance Service Quality Review Survey Final Report.

source: https://torontosun.com/news/national/pandemic-blamed-as-ei-recipients-wait-months-for-payments