Our government’s top priority is keeping our country prosperous for the long term. That means creating jobs and growing the economy.
As never before, Canada is experiencing a serious labour shortage. But in a strange disconnect, analyses of employment data in many regions of the country demonstrate that Canadians in those regions, with the right skills to fill jobs vacancies, are unemployed and collecting Employment Insurance – and that many employers are resorting to importing temporary foreign workers.
The Employment Insurance program is Canada’s largest labour market program. It plays an important role in helping workers adjust to labour market changes and balancing work and family responsibilities. But the program is in need of modifications to help workers get back to work quickly.
The government has proposed changes to the regulations governing the Employment Insurance Act. The changes are creative, decisive and filled with common sense and reason. As always, the best interests of Canadians and the Canadian economy are at the forefront.
EI was never meant to be a permanent source of income for the unemployed. The benefits, paid both by the employer and the employee, have always been a mere stop-gap while work is being sought. The proposed changes will clarify for Canadians what their responsibilities are while collecting Employment Insurance.
Being out of work is distressing. The longer one is unemployed, the less confident and motivated that person becomes. Despite EI regulations stating that Canadians on EI must actively look for work while receiving the benefit, many people either feel unable or are uncertain how to connect with available jobs in their skill set.
These regulation changes are designed to garner more confidence in unemployed people, and to get more Canadian jobs to Canadians. Each EI recipient will receive better alerting of jobs in their field, not only in their immediate area, but across Canada. This is not to suggest that they must take those jobs; merely to make them aware of the possibilities and pay scales in other regions.
Under the current regulations, should an unemployed person earn some income while unemployed, 100 per cent of matching benefits are clawed back. Under the proposed regulations, they will be permitted to keep more, giving more incentive – and more income.
Rather than forcing people to take jobs outside of their locale or skill set, as the Official Opposition has suggested, the new regulations, once passed, will connect Canadians with available jobs in their own area; jobs appropriate to their qualifications. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis – considering a claimant’s past history of receiving EI, among other things.
The proposed changes, which will not take effect until 2013, are designed to be fair, flexible, and responsive to the needs of today’s changing labour force, and those of Canadian families.
For more information on improvements to Employment Insurance, please visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca.