Friday, November 13, 2015

EI issues on the radar for new Liberal government

Prince Rupert's Service Canada office
is likely to see an increase in visitors
over the next few months as job
cuts arrive from the Canfisco closure
Earlier this week we made note of a presentation to Council from Councillor Joy Thorkelson, who provided a fairly stark look at the nature of the unemployment numbers in the community and how the employment insurance system currently in place affects residents of the North Coast.

Comments that were delivered to Council members before Thursday's shocking announcement of the closure of the canning lines at Canfisco's Oceanside plant.

That news from yesterday delivers a situation that now seems destined to not only add to the unemployment rolls for the city, but perhaps will make for a longer term issue for Council to be concerned about, particularly when it comes to employment options for its residents and social services in the community.

Maryann Mihychuk, the Minister
of Employment, Workforce
Development and Labour
has been tasked to deliver
EI reforms across Canada
While we await further details on the impact to the community of those cuts at Canfisco, the issue of EI eligibility and procedures is apparently set to get a review by the Federal Minister of Labour.

That at least is the indication of today's mandate letter to Maryann Mihychuk, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

Of note for those that have been impacted by the current EI process are some changes ahead to streamline the way the Government approaches the issue.

With the Prime Minister noting his vision on the way ahead which includes, Improvement of the Employment Insurance (EI) system so that it is better aligned with the realities of today’s labour market and serves workers and employers.

Some of the directions ahead for the EI system include:

Repealing the recent changes made to the EI system that have been punitive to unemployed workers; 

Reduce EI premiums 

Undertake a broad review of the EI system with the goal of modernizing our system of income support for unemployed workers that leaves too many workers with no unemployment insurance safety net 

Eliminate discrimination against immigrants, younger workers and parents re-entering the workforce so that they are treated the same as other workers in their region 

Reduce the wait time for new recipients to one week from the existing two week waiting period

Work with the Minister of Finance to ensure that EI contributions are only used to fund EI programs; 

Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to set transparent service standards for the delivery of EI benefits so that Canadians get timely access to the benefits to which they are entitled. 

As well, an increased focus on renewal of skills and job training programs for  Canadians was also reviewed as part of the new Minister's blue print for the months and years ahead.

The full review of the mandate letter can be found here.

Considering the news of the last few days in this community, those changes and new options probably can't come fast enough to provide some assistance for some of the conditions that seem ahead.

More items related to Labour notes and concerns can be found on our Labour archive here.

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