GATINEAU, QC, Nov. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney,
Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for
Multiculturalism, issued the following open letter to Quebecers on
"It is difficult to debate those who use misinformation and false
rhetoric to engage in fear-mongering, and refuse to focus on the
facts. They do this because the facts show a different picture than
they are trying to paint.
It is clear that the Commission nationale d'examen sur l'assurance-emploi that has been touring the province and is now prepared to release its
"report" has been nothing more than a partisan exercise, whose only
interest has been to scare Quebecers without informing them about the
facts involved in changes by the federal government to Employment
And, so I want to give the facts directly to Quebecers.
The changes our government introduced to the EI system in 2012 are
modest and reasonable. They are intended to make EI more responsive,
fair, and flexible.
Moreover, these changes were made in part because a growing number of
employers were experiencing labour shortages, even in regions of high
unemployment, and were resorting to bringing in temporary foreign
workers from overseas, rather than hiring local unemployed individuals.
It is important to note that there has been no change in the way that
the unemployed qualify for EI.
EI recipients have always been required to look for work in their local
area while they are receiving benefits.
As a matter of fact, the most recent data available we have shows that,
for 2013, of those people who were disqualified from EI, far less than
1% were disqualified because they failed to search for work or refused
to accept suitable work. Data also shows that 80% of the increase in
disentitlements in 2013 is due to claimants being out of the country
during the process, which is clearly against the rules. This has
nothing to do with our EI changes.
Available work will only be considered suitable if the recipient would
be better off accepting new employment than receiving benefits. And
seasonal workers who cannot find work during periods of seasonal
unemployment will be expected to look for work, but not expected to
move or to accept work that pays less than their EI benefits. They will
always have the option of returning to their regular seasonal
employment. If an employer is not willing to hire someone because they
have indicated they want to return to their seasonal employment, that
EI recipient will continue to receive benefits.
Personal circumstances, such as access to transportation and child care,
are always taken into account when determining acceptable employment.
Quebecers are not required to move, nor will they be expected to take
jobs for which they are not suited, or which are unsuitable based on
their personal circumstances.
Quebecers may not be aware of the opportunities that exist in their
community. That is why we've taken concrete action, such as improving
the Job Alert system, to help job-seekers learn about jobs in their
local area that match their skills. To date, over 58 million alerts
have been sent to Canadians who have voluntarily signed up.
The Commission nationale d'examen sur l'assurance-emploi heard testimony from witnesses, like the Regroupement des employeurs du secteur bio-alimentaire, which includes 1,500 employees in Quebec, saying that our changes to
EI have made it possible to avoid hiring foreign temporary workers, and
that their factories, nine in all, turned to labour sharing
arrangements instead. The St-Bruno ski centre recently said that the EI
changes have enabled the centre to find workers more easily.
Employment Insurance continues to be there for those who have paid into
the system and have lost their job through no fault of their own,
including in areas where jobs simply do not exist outside of seasonal
or specialized industries.
Making the Employment Insurance system more responsive, fair, and
flexible, and helping unemployed Quebecers obtain good quality jobs in
their local area is good for the economy and most importantly, is good
for Quebecers and their families."
Minister of Employment and Social Development
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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