OTTAWA – Employees making use of for employment insurance coverage advantages must qualify primarily based on pre-pandemic guidelines beginning Sunday, when non permanent measures are set to run out.
The Liberal authorities has pledged to reform EI and tackle gaps in this system, however non permanent measures that had been put in place in the course of the pandemic will expire earlier than any reform is carried out.
Labour advocates in addition to NDP and Bloc Québécois members of Parliament have been calling on the federal authorities to increase the non permanent measures, which expanded entry to extra employees.
Throughout query interval within the Home of Commons on Wednesday, Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot requested Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough to increase the measures till a full reform of this system is carried out.
“The minister acquired a mandate to implement a full reform of EI this summer time however she didn’t do it,” stated Chabot. “Will the minister a minimum of prolong the non permanent measures?”
In response, Qualtrough stated the non permanent adjustments made to EI had been pandemic-related measures and had been now not crucial.
“I can guarantee (Chabot) and everybody that by the top of the 12 months, you’ll know what the imaginative and prescient for EI is,” Qualtrough stated.
Below the non permanent measures, employees qualify for EI primarily based on a nationwide requirement of getting 420 insurable employment hours, whereas employees would usually want between 420 and 700 hours relying on the regional unemployment price.
Many specialists assist transferring towards a nationwide requirement and say variable necessities are unfair to employees who’re laid off in a area with a low unemployment price.
Moreover, beneath the non permanent measures, pay acquired on separation from a job, similar to severance, will not be deducted from advantages.
On Thursday, the Nationwide Council of Unemployed Employees held a joint information convention with Chabot, NDP deputy chief Alexandre Boulerice and different labour leaders on Parliament Hill in regards to the expiration of the measures.
Qualtrough met with the labour leaders on Thursday and promised to increase EI illness advantages from 15 to 26 weeks by the top of the 12 months, a change that was promised within the 2022 price range.
Milan Bernard, an organizational adviser with the Nationwide Council of Unemployed Employees, stated Qualtrough expressed dedication to reforming EI however no timeline.
“We don’t actually know what’s going to occur,” stated Bernard.
Specialists and advocates say EI reform has been wanted for years, nonetheless, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that magnified gaps in this system.
Confronted with a significant disruption to the economic system on the onset of the pandemic, EI couldn’t ship advantages to the staggering quantity of people that all of a sudden discovered themselves out of labor as lockdowns got here into place.
In a report revealed in August 2020, Jennifer Robson, a Carleton College affiliate professor of political administration, discovered EI didn’t cowl sufficient Canadians whereas additionally failing on the executive and technological entrance.
The shortcomings led the federal authorities to introduce the Canada Emergency Response Profit to offer fast aid to Canadians.
In 2021, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to modernize EI and pledged to develop this system to cowl self-employed employees and tackle gaps, together with these highlighted by the COVID-19.
Qualtrough’s mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requested the minister to “carry ahead and start implementing a plan to modernize the EI system for the twenty first century” by summer time 2022.
Employment and Social Growth Canada concluded its final spherical of public consultations on EI reform in July. Nonetheless, there aren’t any particulars about when laws on EI reform can be introduced.
The checklist of complaints in regards to the present construction of this system is a protracted one, from eligibility necessities to financing to administrative expertise.
A central concern of labour advocates and specialists is that too few can entry this system.
In keeping with a Statistics Canada report revealed in 1998, the proportion of unemployed Canadians receiving EI advantages peaked at 74 per cent in 1989. That quantity sharply declined within the years after, partly due to reforms made to this system within the Nineteen Nineties.
Whereas the non permanent adjustments expanded entry to EI, earlier than the pandemic, about 40 per cent of unemployed Canadians acquired employment insurance coverage.
Unifor president Lana Payne, who has been advocating for the non permanent measures to be prolonged, stated “we will’t return to a damaged system.”
“(If) we revert again to pre-COVID necessities, you’re going to have lots of people who doubtlessly will fall via the cracks,” stated Payne.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Sept. 23, 2022.