Donnelly Continues the Fight to Strengthen Medical EI

NDP MP Fin Donnelly Reintroduces Private Member’s Bill

New Democrat MP Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam & Port Moody) is continuing his fight to strengthen medical Employment Insurance benefits for Canadians suffering from catastrophic illnesses such as cancer. Donnelly re-introduced his Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons today which would extend medical EI benefits from 15 to 52 weeks.

“Canadians who are struck with catastrophic illnesses should be able to focus on recovery, and not have to worry about how they will survive financially,” said Donnelly.

“Too many families across the country have been affected by illnesses such as cancer. This is difficult enough to cope with, without having to worrying about their medical benefits expiring,” added Donnelly.

Donnelly first introduced the bill in 2010 after meeting with breast cancer survivor Natalie Thomas, whose EI sickness benefits ran out just two days after her second surgery. “After a lifetime of contributing to Employment Insurance benefits, I nearly lost my home at 61 years old while fighting breast cancer,” said Thomas. “This bill would provide critical financial support to Canadians suffering from serious illnesses when they need it most.”

Over the past two years Donnelly has received hundreds of e-mails and letters from cancer survivors and others who support this legislative change. Three-time cancer survivor, Marie-Hélène Dubé from Montreal, has gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures for a petition that calls for these changes.

“Employment Insurance has always been intended to assist Canadians who find themselves temporarily out of work through no fault of their own,” said Donnelly. “At a time when more and more Canadians are being diagnosed with cancer, updating the Employment Insurance Act to reflect this reality only makes sense.”