The Harper Government recently announced improvements to Employment Insurance (EI) as part of Economic Action Plan 2012.  These changes will help to better connect Canadians with available jobs.

Certain regions and industries across Canada are facing skills shortages.  That’s why it’s critical to take action now to better connect hard-working Canadians with available jobs in their communities.

Canadians who receive EI benefits will now be provided comprehensive job postings on a daily basis from multiple sources.  This will help ensure that Canadians are always made aware of jobs available in their local area.

Also, our Government will deliver measures to better align the EI program and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, ensuring Canadians know of, and can apply for, local jobs before temporary foreign workers are approved for hire.

Finally, our Government will take the necessary steps to clearly define what constitutes as “suitable employment,” and a “reasonable job search.”  This will encourage EI claimants to actively look for and accept all suitable work.  Under the Harper Government’s plan, it will always be financially beneficial to accept suitable employment.

In addition, the Harper Government has delivered a number of other accomplishments to uphold the EI system since first elected in 2006.

  • In 2009 and 2010, we froze EI premiums at their lowest level since 1982.  We went on to limit premium increases to 5 cents in 2011 and 10 cents in 2012, helping workers and employers keep more of their own hard-earned dollars.
  • As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, we lengthened the national, regular EI entitlement period by 5 weeks (more than doubling the two weeks advocated by the opposition).  In a time of great need, this allowed recipients to receive up to 50 weeks of benefits in 2009 and 2010.  We then extended the pilot project, renewing to 2012.
  • By consistently supporting Work-Sharing agreements, we’ve helped avoid layoffs by offering EI to qualifying workers willing to work a reduced work week while their employer and the economy recovered.
  • We provided an additional 5 to 20 weeks of EI support to long-tenured workers ‒ who worked hard and paid premiums for years ‒ helping them transition into a new job.
  • We delivered better access to EI parental benefits for members of Canada’s Armed Forces by extending the eligibility period for those who are ordered to return to duty while on leave.
  • Self-employed Canadians can now access EI special benefits on a voluntary basis for the first time in history, allowing them to no longer choose between family and work responsibilities.
  • We delivered EI parental benefits to those Canadians who choose to adopt children into their care, bringing the EI program in line with current adoption procedures.
  • To support parents going through the horrific ordeal of losing a child, we are delivering EI special benefits through the new Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children.

Canadians can count on our Government to keep employment and economic growth a priority by working to deliver a strong EI program.

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