Government of Canada enhances social benefit services to Canadians

BATHURST, NB, March 2, 2017 /CNW/ - To improve services to Canadians, the Government of Canada is hiring 58 additional employees to support Service Canada operations in Bathurst. These new jobs will represent an injection of approximately $3 million into the economy of the region.  This investment will further improve Canadians' access to the information and support they need to receive Employment Insurance (EI) and other social benefits and services as quickly as possible.

The announcement was made today by Serge Cormier, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Acadie–Bathurst, on behalf of the Honourable Jean‑Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Through Budget 2016, the Government announced immediate action to improve EI so that more Canadians get the help they need when they need it. A number of improvements already came into effect:

  • elimination of EI eligibility requirements that restrict access for workers who were entering or re-entering the labour market;
  • simplification of job search responsibilities for EI claimants through the reversal of the 2012 changes that specified the type of jobs that unemployed workers were expected to search for and accept;
  • a new more flexible EI Working While on Claim pilot project from August 2016 until August 2018. This pilot will help EI claimants stay connected to the labour market and offers a choice of two options to better support their job prospects;
  • extending the Work-Sharing agreements from a maximum of 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada;
  • reducing the EI waiting period from two weeks to one week, effective January 1, 2017; and
  • reducing EI premiums to $1.63 in 2017—a reduction of nearly $2.4 billion in total EI premiums paid by employees and employers.

The Government of Canada also held consultations with stakeholders on maternity, parental and caregiving benefits to seek their views on what is important to them and better understand the situations that could benefit from additional support in the form of benefits and leaves.

Quotes

"To make sure that Canadians get the help they need when they need it and to improve access to social benefits and services such as EI, we are increasing staff levels in Bathurst. Furthermore, these new jobs will bring additional economic benefits to the region."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"With close to 500 Service Canada employees in Bathurst, the Government of Canada has a significant presence in our community. Hiring up to 58 more employees, here in Bathurst, will not only ensure that Canadians can access their EI benefits and other government services as quickly as possible, it will also be a boost to our regional economy."
Serge Cormier, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Acadie–Bathurst

Quick Facts

  • Through Budget 2016, the Government announced immediate action to improve EI so that more Canadians get the help they need when they need it.
  • Budget 2016 will provide $2.7 billion over the next two years for improvements to EI to help Canadians across the country.
  • As part of Budget 2016, the Government committed funding to enhancing services and performance standards for those accessing EI benefits.
    • An investment of $19 million was committed this year to make EI service delivery more responsive. This funding will go towards enabling Service Canada to meet the increased demand for EI claims processing and offer better support to Canadians as they search for new employment.
    • An investment of $73 million was committed over two years to enhance access to EI call centres. This will increase the number of call centre agents, which will reduce waiting times and ensure that Canadians can access the information and support they need to receive their EI benefits as quickly as possible.

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    SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

    For further information: Mathieu Filion, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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