Ottawa tells EI recipients to take jobs being filled by foreign workers—or lose benefits -

Ottawa tells EI recipients to take jobs being filled by foreign workers—or lose benefits


The Conservative government is looking to address the seeming paradox of high unemployment in areas suffering shortages of labour. And they’re doing so by warning recipients of Employment Insurance that they may lose their benefits if they don’t pursue jobs that are being filled by temporary foreign workers.

“What we will be doing is making people aware there’s hiring going on and reminding them that they have an obligation to apply for available work and to take it if they’re going to qualify for EI,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the National Post. According to the newspaper, Kenney pointed to areas in Nova Scotia that, despite having unemployment rates of around 10 per cent, are bringing in people from Mexico to work at Christmas tree operations.

Last month’s federal budget pledged $387 million to align the delivery of EI benefits with labour market conditions. As the CBC reports, Canadian businesses that hire temporary foreign workers are already looking to domestic labourers before recruiting people from abroad. Ken Forth, the president of a non-profit organization that oversees the recruitment of foreign agricultural workers in Canada, told the CBC that 80,000 Canadians are employed at farms in southern Ontario, compared with 15,500 foreign workers.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley will soon address the changes in further detail, Kenney told the National Post. 

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Ottawa tells EI recipients to take jobs being filled by foreign workers—or lose benefits

  1. My parents did field work when we were new immigrants back in the late 50s, early 60s.  Being in the sun all day, stooped over strawberries or vegetables, walking in tobacco rows or up in apple trees is poorly paid, hard labour.  That’s why people are brought into Canada-it is very undesirable work.  Don’t think this threat will work.        

    • It will when the former EI recipients get hungry.

    • Back in the 70s and early 80s if they couldn’t find a job locally, the teenagers from my part of Quebec migrated around eastern and central Canada picking tobacco, apples and other farm produce as the season progessed.

      Why arn’t they doing that now?

      • People who are on EI are usually people with families to support – migrating around for agricultural work may support the individual, but wouldn’t do much to support their family.  Minimum wage for agricultural work is usually less than for other types of work. 

      •  Social assistance policies in Quebec provide better support for workers I believe.  There were rules in place about those from other provinces not taking jobs from Quebecers.  It has only been in the last few years that these rules were opened up to some degree.  Even produce is not readily traded between Ontario and Quebec.  All the big tobacco farms in Ontario are gone now and on the farms that are left everything is mechanized pretty much.  Soy and ginseng are the replacement produce for tobacco and they are not huge operations.   

  2. It is all very nice that the minister insists that people on EI must take positions filled by Foreign workers. However, how about pay equity? The Government is great about saying here is a job available that you must take. But it does it pay the $83,038.00 salary that the feds say the average Canadian wage earner makes in Canada. No it doesnt. Sometimes it doesnt even cover minimum wage which lets face it is $21,320.00 a year. How about they reduce there overblown salaries to minimum wage rates and kick back the extra they are making. You will definitely hear their kicking and screaming then.

    Our government is so two faced and arrogant, that they intentionally think that they can dictate what you can and cant decide for yourself. If you were making $58,240.00 per year you are getting $30,284.80 on E.I. And you even have to pay a portion of that back at tax time. Now they saying if dont take the $21,320.00 dollar job they will cut you off.

    Maybe the option should be whether or not Canadians should pay into a system that only allows you to claim benefits for 42 weeks at best when you have paid into for years. And receive only 52% of the earnings they based their premiums on. Return all the money that was paid into it. See how they would like it.

    They allow everyone else to increase their rates. HYDRO! PROPERTY TAXES! WATER! GASOLINE! INSURANCE! FORCE PEOPLE TO GET CABLE! And complain because people wont take a job that is inadequate for their needs.

    Something is wrong. They arent fixing the problems. They are only creating more.

    • I don’t think it is just “this government” that started dictating “what you can and can’t decide for yourself” in terms of accepting jobs when you are on employment insurance.  I was laid off for a short period of time in 1982 and collected EI.  I sent in my cards reporting about the jobs I applied for.  There was no option to not accept a job.  In fact, someone I know actually went to work for his EI.  He was a carpenter and he worked on a project to re-face some buildings in Edmonton. It was a federal government program and he only was paid his EI.  That too was during the economic bust in Alberta in the early 1980’s.

    • EI takes 1.83% of your wage, to a maximum of $840/yr. More than that, you get refunded at tax time.

      So, that 30k per year you get on EI, requires you to have been employed.. at the maximum EI rate or better, for at least 35 years in order to pay for what you get paid back in a single year of unemployment.

      Who’s getting the short end of the stick here again?

    • What happened to personal pride in taking a job any job so as not to be a burdon on sociaty. Where you did put food on the table for your family before paying for the latest cellphone, cigarettes,, flat screen TV,s and cable tvs. Nobody owes you a thing if you are not willing to work for it.
      We have too many people blaming everybody else for what is not right in their lives. They hold out their hands begging for handouts because they are too lazy to do any kind of work so as to gain their self respect.

      I myself have spent my time working at at least two jobs and sometimes three to keep a roof over my head. I have never been too proud to get my hands dirty to make ends meet. If I can do it as a single mom with three children then so can you. Nobody owes you a thing. If you don,t want to work don,t hold out your hand for free money. Get off you butt and earn some self respect.

      • I dont mean to down grade you in your efforts to support a family. Here is the thing! I was was making over $100, 000. 00 per year. For three years, I spent 5 years in university and have a student in excess of $75, 000.00. I have a wife and two children to support. So I admire the fact you are willing to kill yourself to support your family. My debt for an education is rediculous and I cant find a full time job which pays off my debt and puts a roof over my head. Quite simply, dont be igonrant, my father. Has had two heart attack, and three strokes. He cant work and he cant afford his medi ation. So you know what. It angers me that you think working twelve for minimum wage provides everything that I need to cover. So lady go back and work in your home country. If you are not making $83,088.00 per year. Then you are below the so called average. If you are making $41,544.00 per year. You are considered part of the working poor. Grow up. How can you take care of your family if you are holding down two jobs. I find insulting that you would inconsiderately place me in a category of wanting a handout.

        • So… you are unable to provide for your family, thus the rest of Canada must work harder to support YOU? I mean, really, why? Man up.

        • You should have learned a trade instead of wasting your time and money getting a doctorat in basket weaving.

      • EI is hardly “free money”.  It’s called employment INSURANCE for a reason.  Employers & employees pay premiums.  If you lose your job, you are eligible for a max of 10 months of benefits just over $400/wk.  People on EI are hardly living in the lap of luxury. 

        • They are if they are refusing jobs that are “beneath” them.

    • “Our government is so two faced and arrogant, that they intentionally think that they can dictate what you can and cant decide for yourself.”

      Pretty rich stuff coming from someone who advocates dictating that others pay for the lazy people’s EI.

  3. Totally agree
    with Jay, but what else can you expect from a Bilderbergian Jason Kenney.

    government should go, it is not even Canadian its only Harper’s government.

    • Apparently, the electorate disagree with you.

      •  Time will
        tell, and the clock is ticking.

  4. It is strange to think how much lower the immigrants standards must be for desirable work to Canada for the hard-labour jobs. Very unfair that hard labour jobs are poor pay in the first place, I think. If they were better pay and with benefits, would unemployed Canadians take them?

  5. this government is going to be the end of CANADA!!  hard working people who pay into employment insurance cannot collect while they are looking for a regular paying job and will be forced to work picking strawberries or other crops for less than minimum wage…then immigrants should be left in their own country IF we dont have the resources to look after our own people we shouldnt be looking after anyone else.

    • “IF we dont have the resources to look after our own people we shouldnt be looking after anyone else.”

      Is giving handouts more help than making EI recipients work?

  6. I’ve seen both sides. There’s very much a side that abuses the EI deliberately so that they get to spend the winter at home. There’s also the side where EI has made it easy for seasonal employers not to pay competitive wages as long as they give enough hours for EI. It’s become an employment subsidy for many industries that only encourages another generation of entitlement.
    Ready to pay enough for bread for a living wage on the labor end? I think many consumers need to examine themselves as well.

  7. Jason kenney has never held a legitimate job in his life and he’s still wet behind the ears.  That however hasn’t prevented him from playing the harperite bogeyman card to ignorance, greed, selfishness.
    Jason has proven himself inept by any standard and certainly his own standard.  He should be out applying for one of those imaginary (“everybody knows”) jobs .

    • Yes, the “help wanted” section of most newspapers is mythical. Dolt.

  8. Many temporary foreign workers rely on the low wage jobs that they are brought into the country to work at to help support them and their families back home. It helps bring up their standard of living without us actually having to commit our own money to costly overseas social programs that usually get sidetracked by corrupt government officials. Why anyone would deny them the opportunity to earn what they consider a decent living is quite beyond me.
    If the government wants to mandate what UI recipients must do in order to continue receiving monthly benefits, then make them attend training sessions where they can upgrade their job finding skills until they’re able to find meaningful employment once again. That way they don’t get to sit at home and do virtually nothing as so many of them currently do. I bet if you checked the stats, you’d find that a significant number of jobs are found through networking. This way they’d be out talking to others in the same situation and circumstances. Networking, if its taken seriously, will pay off in the long run. You just have to “work” at it.

    • They are not interested in attending training sessions, it’s been done before and it doesn’t work.

      You don’t want to work, you don’t eat, you don’t eat, you die. What a concept.

      • Sam,
        Could you be a little more specific? Are there any case studies which you’re referring to?

  9. God bless Mr. Harper, the Canadian taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for the OWS types to sit around and wallow in their self pitty.

  10. Re-training for EI recipients used to work, until gov’t starting reducing the length of time people were eligible for training. It no longer works because it’s difficult to impossible to receive any kind of useful (to employers) training in the short timespans EI supports.