Explaining EI - Macleans.ca

Explaining EI


Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield attempts to explain what the Harper government’s unspecified EI reforms will mean.

Ashfield said people will no longer be able to turn down job opportunities within an hour’s drive if they expect to collect benefits. “It’s not to force people to go to Alberta, it’s not to force people to, you know, drive for four hours, or move away from their home community. That’s not the intent at all,” Ashfield said.

Alas, Mr. Ashfield may have again been speaking without first checking with his assistant.

Setting a clear geographical rule of a one hour’s drive would bring clarity to one of the most debated and subjective section of the current EI rules. However Conservative officials told the Globe and Mail that the minister was only speaking in general terms to make the point that Canadians on EI will not be expected to move.

John Ivison still seems to think an hour commute will be the rule.


Explaining EI

  1. If it’s 1 hr. *drive* (& not just commute) one must accept & at as little as 70% of former wages, that could be at least an hr’s pay in fuel costs each day. So a net gross of $70/day for a 10.5 hr work day (@10/hr., incl. 2 hr commute & 1/2 hr unpaid lunch) would qualify as “suitable work” for someone who used to net $110 for a 9 hr day (@ $14.50/hr w. a 15 min. commute).

  2. It is unfortunate that clarity on the changes to Employment Insurance are coming from the Fisheries Minister and not the Minister of Human Resources or the Minister of Finance.

    Even worse is that for true clarity we are looking to a reporter who does not cite his sources on the governments policy.

  3. What if the claimant does not have a car, cannot drive, etc…

    • I imagine that people without cars or an ability to drive are probably just assumed to be helpless communists hoisted on their own ideological petard or something. Those on suspended license are moral failures in that conception.

  4. An hour commute in the GTA will barely get you from downtown to the city limits (if you are using the TTC). Good news if you live in Markham and don’t want to work at minimum wage for a call centre in Missisauga, I guess.