MAYES: EI overhauled

The Employment Insurance Program is not meant to be an income supplement if people choose not to work nor a business model.

The Employment Insurance program is designed to provide temporary income support to replace lost employment income while claimants are looking for work.

It is not meant to be an income supplement if people choose not to work nor a business model.

Our government is overhauling how Canadians collect employment insurance by encouraging frequent users to stop depending on the program as a yearly source of income and requiring those who rarely use it to look more broadly for jobs when they do collect EI.

Employment insurance will very much be there for people who cannot find a job within their qualifications and within their region. There are, however, as we know, growing labour shortages in this country and we want to take every effort we can to ensure people can find jobs.

According to Statistics Canada’s job vacancy survey, in the fall of last year, there were approximately 250,000 unfilled jobs across Canada.

Your government is creating three different types of EI recipients including frequent users, occasional claimants and long-tenured workers. Frequent claimants – those who used EI at least three times for a total of 60 weeks in five years – will be given six weeks to look for work in their field.

After this window closes, applicants will be expected to find another job they are qualified for that pays at least 70 per cent of their previous salary. The opposition contended the government’s new rules targets people who commonly use EI like seasonal and contract workers. Our objective is to match people with jobs.

We want to make sure we have a system in place that will allow people to get work they’re qualified for in their area.

The new rules will mean less generous handouts for those frequent abusers while giving hard-working Canadians, who rarely use the program, more leeway to look for jobs in their field.

Canadians on EI will receive more information about available jobs in their area.

Colin Mayes is MP for the Okanagan-Shuswap.