Analyzing Policy Frames for Unemployed Workers Supports within Canada


  • Leslie J. Nichols Ryerson University, PhD Student



Over the past two decades, the underlying assumptions about unemployed worker supports have shifted away from an individual male breadwinner model and towards an adult worker model (Lewis and Giullari 2005). This paper will explore the shifts in foundational assumptions and conceptual framing that accompanied the change from Unemployment Insurance (UI) to Employment Insurance (EI) in 1997, most notably the shift from the male breadwinner model and to the adult worker model.  This paper will also argue that neither policy approach, UI or EI, is sufficient to address the needs of unemployed workers, nor do they work to truly support the wellbeing of the majority of the Canadian population. It will insist that policy analysts need to adopt an intersectionality approach to labour market issues in order to identify those areas where employment insurance policy needs to be modified.  

Keywords: EI/UI policy, Canada, women, unemployed worker, intersectionality theory.



Author Biography

Leslie J. Nichols, Ryerson University, PhD Student

Leslie Nichols is a PhD student in the Policy Studies department at Ryerson University.  She holds a Master of Arts in Work and Society from McMaster University.  As well, she holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with distinction in Women and Gender Studies and Historical Studies from the University of Toronto.