QUÉBEC, Feb. 9, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Appearing today before the Committee on Labour and the Economy concerning Bill 70 – An Act to allow a better match between training and jobs and to facilitate labour market entry, Ombudsperson Raymonde Saint-Germain said that she subscribes to the goals of the Bill but pointed out that she has serious reservations about how the Aim for Employment Program would be applied. As she sees it, "the Aim for Employment Program will only work if it truly takes into account every participant's needs and leads to sustainable employment."
In its brief, the Québec Ombudsman emphasizes the need to apply the Aim for Employment Program with discernment and for resources that will allow the Act its full breadth and for the outcomes of the Program to be rigorously evaluated. In her opinion, the Bill as it now stands, without sufficient guidelines, gives bureaucracy too much leeway.
The Québec Ombudsman feels that respect of participants' rights, consideration of the situation of the most underprivileged, the consistency of the proposed measures and the scope of the issues involved demand that various additions be made to the Bill so as to better define its scope. It therefore makes 16 recommendations aimed at the following, among other things:
- clearly defining what suitable employment is;
- aligning suitable employment with the participant's employability profile;
- defining the notion of failure to fulfil the obligations of the individual labour market plan;
- establishing that failure is determined according to the participant's efforts, and not on the outcomes achieved;
- allowing for recourse when decisions are contested;
- giving participants at risk of complete destitution further to a penalty access to the Minister's discretionary power so that their benefits are reinstated;
- ensuring that sufficient monies to respond to the client population's diversified needs are allocated for Program measures and services;
- assessing achievement of Program targets short term and long term.
These conditions are essential for the Québec Ombudsman to endorse the principle of mandatory participation in the Aim for Employment Program so that no citizen is penalized or excluded for reasons beyond his or her will or control. Failure to factor this in would, in the eyes of the Québec Ombudsman, make the imposition of penalties unacceptable.
The Québec Ombudsman is pleased that an unfair situation has been corrected
Bill 70 responds to a recommendation by the Québec Ombudsman concerning inheritances received by social-solidarity recipients in instalments. Raymonde Saint-Germain salutes the easing of the rules that would put an end to the unfair disparity between recipients who get a lump-sum inheritance and those who receive it in instalments. However, she recommends that the amendment be retroactive to July 26, 2012, the date of her recommendation to the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale.
For all comments and recommendations, see the Québec Ombudsman's brief (in French).
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