Yet the Conservative government has gutted the Employment Insurance program over the past year, making it harder and harder for the unemployed to access benefits.

This is a serious problem in the riding, where so many workers have part-time, casual or temporary jobs. They pay into the EI program, but rarely qualify for benefits. In Toronto, only 25 percent of laid-off workers receive benefits, creating real hardship for the rest.

Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have contributed to making the EI system inaccessible. Before the Liberals began their cuts in the 1990s, the system provided benefits to more than more than 70 percent of laid-off Canadians.

Linda will work with the Toronto NDP team to fight for an overhaul of the EI system so that workers can receive badly-needed benefits as well as re-training opportunities.