By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
In the first hour of debate this weekend, New Democrats passed six resolutions under the heading “Innovating and Prospering in the New Energy Economy.”
1-01-13 Resolution on Combatting Tax Shelters
Submitted by Hochelaga
WHEREAS, in addition to creating a “parasitic” sector driven by tax evasion, tax shelters serve to hide profits and the very existence of vast fortunes, often obtained by criminal means;
BE IT RESOLVED that a new clause be added to Subsection 1.7 of the Policy Book:
e. Combatting tax shelters and money laundering.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 25, 2013 at 5:40 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair stood first to mock.
“Mr. Speaker, Conservative Senator Mike Duffy has now admitted he mistakenly collected, maybe, about, $100,000 in Senate housing allowances. How does one accidentally claim $100,000 in living expenses? He says the form was too complicated,” the NDP leader reported sarcastically. “We also have Senator Pamela Wallin who has an Ontario health card while claiming to be a resident of Saskatchewan. She told the federal government that she lived in one province but told the provincial government that she lived in another. This would be unacceptable for any other Canadian. Why does the Prime Minister seem to think it is acceptable for his Conservative senators?”
The Prime Minister was away, so it was Peter Van Loan’s responsibility this day to offer the official reassurances. “Mr. Speaker, we have committed to ensure that all expenses are appropriate,” the Government House leader reported, “that the rules governing expenses are appropriate and to report back to the public on these matters.”
But Mr. Van Loan apparently sensed that Mr. Mulcair was not sufficiently serious in his concern for the Senate. “The reality is, if we want to see real change in the Senate, real change toward an accountable Senate,” Mr. Van Loan segued, “we need to embrace the Conservative proposal to actually let Canadians have a say on who represents them in the Senate. The NDP simply will not do that.”
So if you are truly upset with the actions of the senators Mr. Harper has appointed, you simply must agree to pass Mr. Harper’s legislation to reform the Senate. Neat trick, that. Indeed, if this has been the Prime Minister’s play all along, to appoint dozens of senators—and two former members of the press gallery at that—in the hopes that somehow someday they would do something to incite the sort of controversy that would leave everyone begging for change, he is precisely three times the brilliant strategist he is often thought to be.
Of course, if Mr. Van Loan really wanted to move ahead with Senate reform, he might invoke time allocation to bring the legislation to a vote. Unless the Conservatives now believe that such maneuvering, of which they have otherwise been so fond, is somehow undemocratic.
This much though was merely the preamble this day. Indeed, for perhaps the first time since Confederation, the Senate was only the setup and not the punchline. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Monday, February 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The federal government denies it has given civil servants quotas for catching…
OTTAWA – The federal government denies it has given civil servants quotas for catching employment insurance fraud — but now says there are performance objectives in place.
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley had flatly denied previous reports that EI investigators have been given monthly dollar quotas.
However government documents obtained by Montreal newspaper Le Devoir show civil servants are expected to find $485,000 each in fraudulent EI claims each year — a total that corresponds to the previously reported $40,000 monthly quota.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the Conservatives are treating the unemployed like criminals and contrasts their pursuit of EI claimants with the expense scandal swirling around Conservative appointees in the Senate.
Finley told Mulcair that EI investigators do have performance objectives but she says there’s a big difference between targets and quotas.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM - 0 Comments
Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Departmental employees do not have individual quotas.
Le Devoir now says it has a document that suggests otherwise.
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, February 4, 2013 at 5:41 PM - 0 Comments
David Christopherson, in furious form, stood to recount the events of Friday morning.
“Last week, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, who once described EI as… ‘lucrative‘ defended her new quota system by describing the unemployed as… the bad guys.’ ”
At least in so far as Diane Finley had in fact spoken the phrase “bad guys,” Mr. Christopherson was correct. It is merely in the entire context of those words that the New Democrat led the House astray.
The official opposition had been pestering the minister on Friday morning about a report that quotas had established for inspectors charged with rooting out fraud of the employment insurance system. In the midst of this, Ms. Finley—on two occasions—suggested the New Democrats were on the wrong side of this matter. “Mr. Speaker, with respect to the employment insurance program,” she said, “it is very important to note that, once again, the NDP is supporting the bad guys.”
Perhaps this was a prepared line—an attempt to turn an attack around. Perhaps Ms. Finley came up with this in the moment in a fit of frustration. Either way, the New Democrats have apparently decided to see Ms. Finley’s oversimplification and raise her a distortion.
“Law-abiding out of work Canadians deserve better than to be treated like criminals,” Mr. Christopherson declared. “Why is the government cutting EI just when people need it to the most?”
Here John Baird was provided an opportunity to be reasonable. “Mr. Speaker, my friend from the NDP has it all wrong,” he scolded. “The minister made no such statements. He is flat-out wrong.”
A few moments later, Nycole Turmel stood to read the charges against Ms. Finley en francais. “Tell the truth!” protested a voice from the government side.
Perhaps for the sake of not being too blatant about all this, each of the men and women on the opposition resisted the urge to yell back, “you first!” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:57 PM - 0 Comments
Q And what’s your reaction to what you’ve seen so far?
A Personal circumstances will always be taken into consideration in determining someone’s eligibility. For example, if they don’t have transportation to another community where a job is, that will be taken into consideration. Child care responsibilities and costs will be taken into consideration because we want to make sure that when people work, they’re better off than when they don’t. That being said, Service Canada officials can only take into consideration the information that they have. If the claimant doesn’t provide all of the relevant individual circumstances, then Service Canada can only go with the information they have.
Q In this particular situation, do you know if the individual did provide that information to Service Canada?
A Service Canada has made multiple attempts to talk with her, to review her file, to go over the options, to get all of the information. But it had no success in reaching her and I really encourage her to get in touch with them.
Ms. Giersdorf, meanwhile, says she’s tried to contact Service Canada and also that she’s been protesting just outside a Service Canada office. And then there is bit of back-and-forth.
Last week, Queen said there were half a dozen jobs in Montague the woman could have applied for; however, Geirsdorf said they were all beyond her qualifications. Officials also say there is more to the EI case than meets the eye, but can’t discuss it.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:33 AM - 0 Comments
A single mother in Montague, Prince Edward Island has apparently been denied EI benefits because she can’t get to Charlottetown and her story has apparently struck a chord in PEI. The National Post talks to her.
Q: Why don’t you apply in Charlottetown?
A: I could probably make a living in Charlottetown, but due to the fact that I do only rely on family and close, close, close friends that I don’t have a lot of, I’d be ruined personally. And my child, I fought tooth and nail with my ex to have him go to Montague [Consolidated School]. If I relocated into Charlottetown, who’s going to drive all the way from Montague to drive me in the summertime, when my son’s not in school, to pick him up? You know, I have 50/50 custody. I would have no transportation whatsoever, I would have to rely on cabs.
Q: If you were to get a job in Charlottetown that paid well, would you be able to get a car?
A: No. I wouldn’t be able to even make it to the job to make enough money to get a car. And if I was hired on in Charlottetown I’d have to refuse the job because I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that I could get to my shifts everyday.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 4:31 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Contentious changes to employment insurance are now in effect.
Beginning Sunday, people…
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.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:38 PM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Sana Hassainia proposes increasing EI for parents who have twins and triplets.
The NDP is hoping for all-party support for a private member’s bill that would double parental leave for the parents of multiples … “This is not something partisan,” said Sana Hassainia, the NDP MP for Vercheres-Les Patriotes who will introduce the bill. “It’s something all Canadian citizens with twins or triplets can benefit from.”
Her bill ultimately seeks to amend the Canada Labour Code so that employees can take up to 72 weeks of parental leave in the event of a multiple birth or multiple adoption. The weeks can be divided between the two parents, used in its entirety by one parent or taken consecutively by each parent. It also amends the Employment Insurance Act so that parents of multiples and parents who adopt multiple babies at the same time can receive up to 70 weeks of parental benefits. Parents of multiples are currently entitled to the same 35 weeks parents with a single baby receive.
Ms. Hassainia was involved in a small kerfuffle earlier this year when she brought her infant son into the House.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Clark and Peter DeVries hope C-45 marks the end of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board.
In the second Budget Omnibus Bill related to the 2012 Budget, the Government proposes to suspend the operations of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board (CEIFB) until such time the Employment Insurance (EI) Operating Account returns to balance. According to the 2012 Budget, this is not expected until 2016. Is this the end of the CEIFB? Lets hope so.
The CEIC was established in 2008 to “set EI premium rates for the upcoming year in a transparent fashion”. This has never happened. In every year since its creation, the Government has overridden the rate recommended by the CEIC through an Order-in-Council. In the March 2012 Budget, the Government proposed further changes to the EI rate-setting process. The employee EI rate is now to be limited to a 5 cent per year increase until the EI Operating Account is balanced. This precludes the CEIFB from setting rates for at least another four years.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the Government’s intent to adjust the Employment Insurance (EI) Working While on Claim pilot project.
“Concerns have been raised regarding the new EI Working While on Claim pilot project,” said Minister Finley. “We have listened to those concerns and today I am announcing our intent to make adjustments to the new pilot program.”
The current pilot project allows claimants to keep 50 cents for every dollar they earn from working while on claim. It removes the previous pilot project’s cap on earnings, which clawed back 100% of earnings over $75 or 40% which discouraged Canadians from accepting more available work.
Under the adjustment announced today, those EI recipients who were working while on claim between August 7, 2011 and August 4, 2012 will be given the option of reverting to the rules that existed under the previous pilot program. This change will go into effect January 6, 2013, but it will be applied retrospectively to August 5, 2012 – the start of the new pilot program.
For those who choose this option, their EI benefits will not be reduced on earnings made while on claim for the first $75 or 40 percent of their benefits, whichever is greater – the same as the previous pilot program. However, all earnings above that threshold will reduce their EI benefits dollar for dollar.
Beginning January 6, 2013, eligible claimants must make the request to revert to the old pilot parameters within 30 days of their last EI benefit payment. For claims that have already ended, claimants will have 30 days from the introduction of this option.
Eligible claimants will be required to make this request for any subsequent claims for the duration of the new pilot project, which runs from August 5, 2012, until August 1, 2015. For an eligible claimant who does not choose to be considered under the previous pilot rules, all current and future claims will be processed under the new Working While on Claim pilot rules.
For an eligible claimant, if they make the decision to opt for the previous pilot, they will not be able to revert to the new pilot during the same EI claim. In addition, if, in a subsequent claim, they receive Working While on Claim benefits under the new pilot introduced on August 5, 2012 they will not be allowed to opt for the old pilot should they file another claim the following year.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 1:41 PM - 0 Comments
Paul McLeod explains what the changes to employment insurance really mean.
The fact is this: the Working While on Claim program has been cut. Less money will be given to people working part time while drawing EI under the new system than the one that existed until this summer … Some people who work frequently — earning 80 to 90 per cent of their weekly EI claims — will be better off under the new system. But those who make less will take home less money than they would have under the previous system. The department says it doesn’t have the numbers required to calculate exactly how many people will make less, but the drop in funding gives some indication.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM - 0 Comments
Opposition parties are accusing the government of clawing back more money from the poorest of Canadians with its recent changes to EI. But Diane Finley, human resources and skills development minister, countered that saying the “vast majority” of EI claimants are better off under her department’s new clawback system.
The Chronicle Herald attempted to verify her claim, asking the department last Thursday for the average dollar amount earned by part-time workers receiving EI, as well as the dollar value of the average clawback under the previous system. The department responded Monday, saying it does not have the data to answer either question. The lack of data raises questions about how Finley could say the “vast majority” of EI claimants will make more money under the new system.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 5:53 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. It was of something Peter Van Loan said in his third response yesterday that Thomas Mulcair asked his first question today.
“Does the Prime Minister agree,” the NDP leader asked, “that employment insurance is, to quote his House leader, ‘an incentive for people to be unemployed?’ ”
Mr. Harper stood and clarified the necessity of employment insurance and asserted his interest in seeing people find jobs. Then he attempted to deal with the details.
“In the past, the way employment insurance worked was that individuals who went back to work lost dollar for dollar everything that they gained when they returned to work,” he said. “For the vast majority of people that is what happened. We are trying to make sure that Canadians can go back to work and continue to benefit.”
Mr. Mulcair proceeded to venture that Mr. Harper was not much interested in helping the unemployed. And, further, that Mr. Harper’s lack of interest extended to various people and concepts. ”Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not interested in meeting with the premiers. He is not interested in working together. He is not interested in the unemployed,” the NDP leader alleged. “He will travel around the world to Davos, to South America, to China but he will not even sit down with Canadian premiers. In seven years he has only met with the premiers once, the worst record of any prime minister.”
There was grumbling from the government side.
“Why will the Prime Minister not even listen to the people on the ground?” Mr. Mulcair asked. “Why will the Prime Minister not work together with his own fellow Canadians here at home?”
Mr. Harper has actually met with the premiers en masse twice—in November 2008 and January 2009. But the Prime Minister had an even more impressive-sounding number to table here. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister wasn’t present for Question Period this afternoon. He had a photo op to attend to. As a result, it was Peter Van Loan’s responsibility to stand and lead the Conservative response this day. History will make notice of this only because it was under Mr. Van Loan’s leadership today that the Harper government fully embraced a satirical approach to political discourse.
After two Conservative MPs had been sent up to mouth this month’s talking point—Rick Dykstra deserves special mention for managing to accuse the NDP leader of both not backing down on cap-and-trade and not sufficiently defending it in the House—Thomas Mulcair stood and ventured his own version of events.
“Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister what his government is doing to help the unemployed. The Prime Minister’s answer was bring in more temporary foreign workers,” Mr. Mulcair reported.
“Can the Prime Minister tell us,” the NDP leader asked this afternoon, “exactly how bringing in more temporary foreign workers will help unemployed Canadians find jobs?”
In response, Mr. Van Loan deferred to an impressive-sounding number (“770,000 net new jobs”) and scary-sounding monsters (“ job-killing carbon taxes”). Mr. Mulcair had some numbers of his own. ”Mr. Speaker, there are still over 300,000 more people unemployed today than before the 2008 recession. That is the fact,” Mr. Mulcair asserted. “Wrong! Wrong!” cried various Conservative voices.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM - 0 Comments
The Globe editorial board says the Parti Quebecois’ victory puts the onus on the Prime Minister. A Conservative organizer predicts “great fun and games.” Human Resources Minister Diane Finley makes the first move, addressing employment insurance.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Finley shunned any suggestions of changing the way EI is managed, pointing instead to the ways Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has made the program more flexible to respond to provincial demands.
“Employment insurance has been federal jurisdiction since 1940,” Finley said by phone from Halifax where she unveiled an expansion of her national youth employment strategy. “It’s national programs to help all regions of the country. We’ve made it more flexible so that it does respond more directly to changes in local market conditions. But our focus is quite frankly on helping people get back to work, as evidenced by today’s announcement, so that they don’t need EI. I’m quite happy to work with Marois’s government on common goals.”
Her officials pointed out that Finley has not, however, said a flat No to anything from Quebec.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM - 0 Comments
The House is proceeding with debate at third reading for C-38 today, the New Democrats have thrown a reasoned amendment at the bill.
That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: this House declines to give third reading to Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, because this House:
a) does not know the full implications of the budget cuts given that the government has kept the details of the $5.2 billion in spending cuts from the Parliamentary Budget Officer whose lawyer Joseph Magnet says the government is violating the Federal Accountability Act law and should turn the information over to the Parliamentary Budget Officer;
b) is concerned with the impact of the changes in the Bill on Canadian society such as: i. making it more difficult for Canadians to access Employment Insurance when they need it and forcing them to accept jobs at 70% of what they previously earned or lose their EI; ii. raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 65 to 67 years and thus driving thousands of Canadians into poverty while downloading spending to the provinces; iii. cutting back the federal health transfers to the provinces from 2017 on, which will result in a loss of $31 billion to the health care system; and iv. gutting the federal environmental assessment regime and weakening fish habitat protection which will adversely affect Canada’s environmental sustainability for generations to come; and
c) is opposed to the removal of critical oversight powers of the Auditor General over a dozen agencies and the systematic concentration of powers in the hands of Government ministers over agencies such as the National Energy Board which weakens Canadian’s confidence in the work of parliament, decreases transparency and erodes fundamental democratic institutions by systematically eroding institutional checks and balances to the government’s ideological driven agenda.
This apparently won’t do anything to delay a final vote on C-38—likely to occur tonight—but it does at least get the official opposition’s complaints on the record one last time.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM - 0 Comments
Though the Conservatives rejected similar entreaties by the NDP last month, the Liberals hope the prospect of several hundred votes will now convince the government to spit the budget bill. Specifically, the Liberals want the following removed from C-38.
Changes to EI that will damage seasonal industries and tear apart communities
Changes to the qualifying age for Old Age Security, that will force millions of Canadians to take two extra ‘Harper years’ before they can retire
Changes to fisheries regulations that will destroy fish habitat and wreak havoc on coastal communities
Changes to environmental legislation that will wipe out 50 years of progress and hinder sustainable resource development
By From the editors - Friday, June 1, 2012 at 12:29 PM - 0 Comments
The system Canada has right now is discriminatory, illogical and counterproductive
Assume for a moment you’ve been given the job of creating from scratch a federal program to help out-of-work Canadians find suitable employment as quickly and efficiently as possible. Would you begin with a system that provides greater benefits to workers who find themselves unemployed more often? Or provides incentives to stay in uncertain occupations forever? Would your ideal system offer identical Canadians vastly different benefits based solely on where they lived? And would you lard the program with inconsistent rules, such as offering benefits to self-employed fishermen, but not self-employed farmers?
Of course not. But this is exactly the sort of discriminatory, illogical and counterproductive system Canada has right now.
Last week Human Resources Minister Diane Finley unveiled a series of reforms to Canada’s much-criticized Employment Insurance program. While the changes don’t go nearly far enough to fix the entirety of EI’s problems, at least they mark renewed emphasis on the core task: getting people back to work.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 6:03 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister has a special gift for making his government’s policies sound altogether banal, utterly and profoundly unremarkable.
“We will continue to do our best to try and put some resources into helping people find jobs,” Mr. Harper said this afternoon, under questioning about his government’s proposed changes to employment insurance. “At the same time, for those who still cannot find work in their seasonal industries and seasonal parts of the economy where people have difficulty finding work, there will, of course, be employment insurance as a safety net for those people.”
But if Diane Finley’s smile did not assuage the opposition parties, what chance do Mr. Harper’s words? From the other side of the House, there is worry that seasonal workers will be particularly impacted. There is fretting that the unemployed will be compelled to take lower paying jobs. There is fear that those without work will be deprived of EI benefits. There are concerns that the Harper government didn’t consult with the premiers. There is even dismissal of the Conservative plan for more and better emails. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Ted Opitz, he who may or may not end up being the duly elected MP for Etobicoke Centre, had just finished doing his partisan duty, standing up to deliver the day’s harangue of the official opposition (“Ill-informed! Foolish! Dangerous!”) and Thomas Mulcair thought he spotted a segue.
“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Mulcair offered in English before proceeding en francais, “let us talk about unemployment insurance, something that will become important for the member very soon.”
There were groans and grumbles from the government side, the Conservatives in attendance apparently finding this to be poor form. Profoundly saddened, John Baird stood and shed a single tear. “Mr. Speaker, what is most interesting is when this gentleman became Leader of the Official Opposition he said he would bring a new civility and raise the tone of debate,” the Foreign Affairs Minister sighed. “I guess not two months after his election, they have thrown that to the side.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May recalls her own experience.
Ms. May said that from 1975 to 1980, she received what was then called unemployment insurance during the off-season while working as a waitress and cook at her family’s restaurant and gift shop business in Cape Breton, she says. Labelling regular users of EI, such as herself, as lazy or abusing the system is unfair, she said.
“I paid into employment insurance. When I needed it, I used it. When I didn’t, I didn’t. I raise my personal experience because I don’t think anyone should be ashamed that seasonal businesses in this country that are big, or small, have benefitted from a legal system of insurance that pays for itself.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM - 0 Comments
New EI changes are like ‘E-Harmony’ for job seekers and employers: matching Cdns looking for work with available jobs, data, support.
During this morning’s news conference, Diane Finley was asked specifically about the ramifications for seasonal workers.
Reporter: How does this impact on seasonal workers … if you take a fish plant worker, for example, works six months for the season. Then there’s a job at McDonald’s available. It’s deemed similar in terms of working around the kitchen. What do they do? They work six months at the fish plant, go to McDonald’s, say to the employer I’m here for six months and then I’m back? So how does this impact seasonal workers?
Diane Finley: Well, this is going to impact everyone because what we want to do is make sure that the McDonald’s of the world aren’t having to bring in temporary foreign workers to do jobs that Canadians who are on EI have the skills to do. It’s about taking advantage of the labour and skills that we have in this country, putting them to productive use and doing it in such a way that the employers are better off but the employee and his or her family is always better off. And that’s why we’ve made other changes leading up to this announcement to make sure that the worker is always better off taking work that’s available than not. And also it means that that money is here in Canada and not going to outside workers unless absolutely necessary.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM - 0 Comments
Diane Finley entered the room smiling. The Human Resources Minister is seemingly a firm believer that—as the lyric goes—when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. Or at least that the whole world is less likely to hear what you’re saying as threatening. Furrowing of the brow is to be avoided. Bright eyes are the order of the day.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce improvements to employment insurance to make it work better for Canadians,” she said with a smile.
“Today,” she added a bit later, “I’m pleased to provide details on our plan.”
The centrepiece of this plan: more e-mails.
Canadians, it would seem, are apparently at a loss. Some are unaware of where to find work. Others do not realize that their skills match job openings in other industries. But soon, through the wonders of modern communication, the unemployed will be more deeply and frequently enlightened.
“Currently, Canadians receiving EI benefits are only sent three job alerts every two weeks. These alerts come from the job bank, which only has about 20% of the jobs that are available. And we believe that this must change. As I said, we must help Canadians who want to work get back to work,” Ms. Finley explained. “As part of our announcement, we will be sending job alerts twice a day to Canadians receiving EI. And the job alerts will come from many sources, including the job bank, but also from private sector sources.”
Some significant portion of the $21 million set aside for improving the EI system will be spent on these emails. Though presumably these new expenditures will be easily covered by the billions saved from consolidating the government’s computer systems. Perhaps the consolidated computer systems will even make sending these emails that much easier. Continue…