By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The federal government’s crackdown on employment insurance claimants is a political game…
OTTAWA – The federal government’s crackdown on employment insurance claimants is a political game that creates a presumption of guilt, says NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
The crackdown includes sending government inspectors to people’s homes and setting annual dollar targets for EI investigators to uncover fraud.
Mulcair says the government is trying to blame the victims, and that people who have paid into the system deserve to collect their benefits.
By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservative government, as you might know, has adopted new measures that make it more difficult for people to claim Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, including new guidelines about what constitutes a “valid” job search. The most controversial measure is one that denies benefits to EI recipients if they refuse what is deemed to be a “suitable” job offer.
I’m not going to delve into the merits and/or demerits of the current attempt to improve the system. What I will say here is that, one way or another, EI reform will always be on the agenda, because there really is no way to get it completely right. There’s a fundamental moral hazard problem that will never go away.
For the uninitiated, here’s the Wikipedia definition of moral hazard:
[A] situation where a party will have a tendency to take risks because the costs that could incur will not be felt by the party taking the risk. In other words, it is a tendency to be more willing to take a risk, knowing that the potential costs or burdens of taking such risk will be borne, in whole or in part, by others.
(If you want learn more about how moral hazard works, I highly recommend listening to the moral hazard episode of the CBC Radio series The Invisible Hand. Come to that, I highly recommend listening to all episodes of the show, if you haven’t already.)
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 21, 2009 at 11:07 AM - 38 Comments
Jack Layton explains himself.
This new reform falls far short in many ways. It doesn’t cut waiting periods, increase benefits or create uniform access across the country. We are under no illusions that this bill fixes the major problems in the EI system. We will continue to work for further changes to EI. In fact, we have a dozen proposed laws before the House that would improve other elements of the existing system.
But my party cannot, in good conscience, vote down legislation that is a step in the right direction.
By kadyomalley - Monday, September 14, 2009 at 10:45 AM - 25 Comments
First off, ITQ would like to offer sincere apologies to any readers incurably earwormed by that headline, but once it popped into her mind, she just couldn’t not inflict it on the world.
Anyway, as we were informed by media advisory earlier this morning, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley will deliver a “brief statement regarding an Employment Insurance measure for long-tenured workers,” followed — and here’s the bit that made ITQ check the headers to make sure this wasn’t a hoax — by “a question and answer session with the media.” She’ll be accompanied by Revenue Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture and Fielding Questions From The French Media Jean-Pierre Blackburn.
The whole thing kicks off at 11:15 EST sharp in the Hall of Honour, so check back for full coverage.
Greetings, followers of the bouncing ball that is parliamentary democracy! We’re here outside the Conservative caucus room awaiting the arrival of the Ministeress of Making Parliament Work (Maybe), who will almost certainly serve as sufficient distraction to allow the rest of the MPs to escape unmolested by the reporters currently massing outside the door. Oh, and maybe even save the country from the horror of a fall election. It could still happen, people! Clap louder!
Meanwhile, someone — it’s not clear who, exactly, which is why ITQ is temporarily abandoning her post to get a closer look — aha! It’s newly minted Senator Jacques Demers, and he’s been scrumming for an awfully long time. I wonder what he’s saying? Or if PMO knows that he’s saying it? Don’t you love not knowing what’s going on?
And here ew go! The minister is in turquoise, but her microphone does not appear to be on, which means that her dulcet tones are being virtually swallowed by the marble hall. This is now being explained to Diane Finley, who seems a little taken aback by being asked to speak louder — “you have to yell,” someone clarifies. Is this a trick to make Marlene Jennings look right? No, no it’s not. We really can’t hear you from behind this cordon.
By kadyomalley - Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 9:56 AM - 69 Comments
So, hot on the heels of that Globe teaser that ITQ mentioned in her last post comes the official (if still curiously vague) confirmation from the government that, yes, they do still have big plans for employment insurance reform. Well, medium-sized plans, at least:
Government of Canada to Help Long-Term Workers When Parliament Resumes
MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Today, the Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, on behalf of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, the Honourable Diane Finley, announced that the Government will introduce measures early in the fall session that will help long-tenured workers who have lost their jobs because of the global recession.
“This will be an important step in helping Canadian workers who have had steady employment and contributed to our economy for years and have become unemployed by no fault of their own,” said Minister Blackburn. “These measures will help ensure that these long-tenured workers who have paid into the EI system for years are provided the help they need while they search for new employment.”
“These measures will help Canadians who have worked hard and paid taxes their whole lives and have found themselves in economic hardship and need a hand up,” said Minister Finley.
There’s no explanation for why the minister didn’t bring this package to the table during the summer of blue-ribboned love, of course, which leaves two possibilities, as far as ITQ can see.
The first is that Scott “Yes, That Scott Reid” Reid does, in fact, have a fully functioning magic eight ball, and those crafty Conservatives had planned all along to allow the EI working group to descend into a very dull version of Lord of the Flies, at which point Diane Finley would swan off to the microphone and save the day with a comprehensive reform package that she just happened to have in her briefcase. The second? That they came up with this idea pretty much on the fly after Ignatieff’s no-he-really-means-it-this-time declaration of non-confidence at last week’s caucus, and figured it would totally throw a spanner in the works as far as the Liberals’ most tender hopes for electoral gains in Quebec and Ontario. And, as the possibly prescient Mr. Reid put it, what have they got to lose?
By Philippe Gohier - Friday, May 29, 2009 at 11:14 AM - 15 Comments
The Liberals and Conservatives could stand to learn a thing or two about it
Perhaps it’s a sign of the tough economic times. As the ranks of the jobless continue to swell in Canada, politicians have taken to bickering over just what to do with them. Over the past month, the Liberals have made no secret they see employment insurance (EI) reform as a viable trigger for bringing down the government. “I just know in my guts as I go across the country,” Ignatieff told reporters at the party’s convention in early May, “that we have an EI system that is not purpose-built for the most serious economic crisis since 1945. And we have to fix it and we have to fix it now. We’re in a crisis situation.”
Fixing it, according to Ignatieff, means lowering the eligibility requirements to 360 hours, or nine 40-hour weeks, for everyone. In most circumstances under the current system, laid-off (or otherwise unemployed through no fault of their own) workers need to have worked between 420 and 700 hours in the previous year, depending on where in the country they live. (Under certain conditions, up to 910 hours may be needed to qualify.) That’s because EI requirements are based on a byzantine system of 58 “economic regions,” each differentiated by their unemployment rates. Regions with high unemployment, like the Gaspé and Northern Manitoba, have the lowest barriers to EI, while places like Ottawa and Saskatoon, where unemployment hovers in the low single-digits, require substantially more hours worked. (In other words, the system works unlike any other insurance plan: the more likely you are to make a claim, the easier it is to make it.)