June 15, 2012
The federal government has announced amendments to Employment Insurance.

The new rules, announced on May 24, are expected to take effect in early 2013. As noted in the LO President’s column on page 3, the changes will affect the landscape industry. It also could also have an influence on growers.  

The government says that the new regulations will not force people to move to receive benefits, but they will be expected to commute up to an hour if they have the means of transport.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley told a news conference, “The changes that we are proposing to EI (employment insurance) are not about forcing people to move across Canada or to take work that doesn’t match their skill set. Our goal is to help Canadians find local work that matches their skills.”

Finley stated some employers turned to foreigners, while Canadians were making claims for employment insurance in the same occupation and province. She explained that she wanted to ensure that “employers consider Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers.” She stated that once the local labour supply has been exhausted, employers will be allowed to look offshore for workers.

Other changes announced:
  • Recipients are to be divided into several categories, depending on how long they’ve been on EI and how many times they’ve accessed the system.
  • Those who have been on EI the longest would be required to accept a wider range of jobs than so-called long-tenured workers on EI for the first time.
  • Generally, people on EI would be required to accept a job within an hour’s drive of their home, if it paid within 70 per cent of their previous wage.