Contentious changes to employment insurance come into effect Sunday

OTTAWA – Contentious changes to employment insurance are now in effect.

Beginning Sunday, people on EI face stricter, more complex rules for keeping their benefits, with the goal of getting unemployed workers back into the workforce sooner.

To help people get back to work, the government has also launched a new service to provide information on available jobs and labour market conditions to subscribers via e-mail.

“The new job alerts system is an important part of our government’s plan to better connect Canadians with available jobs in their area,” said Human Resources Minister Diane Finley in a statement Sunday.

The changes to the EI program were first spelled out in May and elaborate on what the government defines as searching for a suitable job.

A suitable search for a job must now include preparing resumes, registering for job banks, attending job fairs, applying for jobs and undergoing competency evaluations.

A suitable job is defined by factors including commuting time, whether the hours are compatible with the claimant’s life and wages.

It will also take into account personal circumstances, such as health, physical capability to perform work, family obligations and transportation options.

The new rules also break down job seekers into essentially two groups: people who’ve long paid into EI but rarely make a claim and those who are regular users of the system.

A suitable job search for the latter group must include jobs that are similar to what they used to do and if one of those isn’t available after a certain period of time, the job seeker has to take any position they are qualified for and accept as much as a 30 per cent pay cut.

The changes have been met with criticism from some politicians and union leaders.

The Atlantic premiers say the new rules could have a devastating effect on fishery, farming and tourism industries which are all seasonal jobs.

And they’re concerned that if people are encouraged to leave home to take other jobs, they won’t come back.

Last week, hundreds of people in Moncton, N.B, gathered to protest the cuts outside the offices of a local Tory MP.

Policing the new system to make sure claimants are following through is expected to cost the government about $7.2 million per year.

But savings to the EI program are expected to be worth $12.5 million in benefits this year and $33 million next year.

Documents posted with the new regulations in December said it’s expected that about 8,000 EI claimants will have their benefits temporarily discontinued until they can prove they are meeting the new rules.

Statistics Canada said Friday that 40,000 job were created in December — all of it in full-time work — driving the unemployment rate to its lowest in four years.

Ontario accounted for about three-quarters of the jobs added across Canada in December and almost all of the other provinces either saw gains or stayed even.

The only exception was Nova Scotia, which lost 5,000 jobs.




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Contentious changes to employment insurance come into effect Sunday

  1. This is also disastrous for film workers in BC who rely on EI between shows. Most of us work on low budget Movies of the Week (MOWs) and are barely making enough to get by so we count on EI during the lulls. I am currently on EI and haven’t received a payment for over a month. I was wondering why. I have had no notice from them as to being ‘temporarily discontinued’. I have had no notice at all other than a form letter on ‘My Service Canada’ page stating that ‘new information’ has come to their attention and they are looking into it. The first pay period that they missed said they’d have it resolved by Jan 9 but that date has come and gone with no money and no reason why. Now there’s a new notice for the second pay period, which has come and gone, with no date given as to a resolve. It’s stressful to say the least.

  2. Perhaps the Employment insurance has somehow forgotten that they are supposed to be just that an insurance company that we as employees pay into for the insurance that if we find ourselves temporarilly out of work we can cover some of our cost. Once again the government has found a way to keep our hard earned money
    Oh well, one wonders what would happen is somehow everyone would be able to stop paying into this fund what would happen.
    Is it just me or do others beleive that this insurance fund has somehow become and additional form of welfare that those who have not contributed can still somehow draw from

  3. What do the welfare families who have been living off the system for Decades have to do anything ? and yes I am employed.

    • It would be highly unlikely that a family has lived of EI for decades as you are only able to incur benefits for an allotted period of time. As for families who are living of social assistance; they likely have to spend their spare time micromanaging their support payment to last the month, while feeding the family. In a country where public transportation costs almost $5.00 for one trip, living off support payments is hardly the life of Riley most people make it out to be.

  4. the gov says its going to cost 7.3 million to police the new system .well this is a good way to keep gov employees no cut backs for them eh .no no lets take it out on the working guy .My company is sesonal and now I have a good chance of loosing my crew .The guys I have working for me are hard and reliable workers .Are they soaking the system I THINK NOT are there people who abuse the system yes of course ,are there goverment officals that abuse there position in goverment ha you all now the answer to that.So there raising the insurance premiums for the employees and the employers .Have they forgot who is paying for this what a joke .As an employer we have to pay 1.4 times more for each employee and yet they can say who gets insurance and who doesn’t . Talk about a goverment who has lost touch to the people who elected them to power . canada its time for change these people only think of us as a meal ticket and that is it .

  5. Isn’t that just like the government. They don’t mind taking the taxes off your paycheck year after year, but God forbid you have to draw E.I and take some back because the economy is bad. You don’t see government taking a 30% cut on their over inflated salaries, yet those of us making less than their spending accounts are expected to get off the employment insurance we have been paying into all this time. I have been a conservative supporter for a long time but I think I won’t bother voting in the next election since we don’t have a truly CONSERVATIVE party. I guess all political parties are the same, and I don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils. Next election I think I might not vote instead I’ll pray that God’s will be done.
    I don’t understand how someone from another country can come over here and after working a few years can get a pension or welfare. Yet a citizen has a hard time. We spend maga bucks of taxpayer money the have a millionaire politician or CEO visit from another country. Something seems wrong.

  6. news flash, i happen to know 2 able bodied people who are more than capable of working. The mother has been on welfare since I have known her. When her daughter turned 18, they managed to collect longer by having her go to College. She only went part time, I might add, when she could have gone full time. When that faded out, she managed to somehow start collecting welfare for herself under the pretence of mental illness (a girl wanting to be a man). In the meantime, she collects, while still living at home, she has a live in girlfriend that works sometimes 2 jobs, they rent out their couch and anywhere they can fit a body. People on welfare usually cannot afford cell plans with data or ordering in pizza several times a week. something is definitely wrong with this picture. These people are extremely manipulative and are able to talk their way out of a paper bag. the girl is extremely intelligent, I think more intelligent that the welfare system. I only wish I had their abilities. It sickens me to see people who need the system have to justifiy everything they do to be able to stay on it and people who don’t need it abuse it so easily. welfare isn’t the life of Riley but for some who know the loop holes to abuse it, it is. I’m sick of paying taxes to support bums that are too lazy to work.

  7. HRDC should be an acronym for Handgun Resource Distribution Centre. If you can’t give the unemployed assistance than give them the comfort of a handgun so they can quickly end their lives when the pain of poverty becomes too much!!!~

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