For general information on the EI program, visit servicecanada.ca/eichanges.
IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.
This news release is available online at www.actionplan.gc.ca.
The Employment Insurance (EI) program is Canada's largest labour market program. Its purpose is to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own while they look for work or upgrade their skills. It also provides temporary income support to those who are absent from work for reasons such as sickness, childbirth, parenting or caring for a gravely ill family member.
Approximately 3 million EI claims are processed each year. In 2010-2011, over $17 billion was paid in EI income support to Canadians.
As Canada will be facing increasing challenges associated with an aging population and growing international competition for skilled workers, we need to better connect Canadian workers with available jobs. According to Statistics Canada, there were 267 000 job vacancies across the country in September.
Canadians want to work, but some face challenges in finding suitable work, including: not knowing where or how to find available jobs; not being aware that their skills match needs in another industry or occupation; and not knowing about the supports available to help them in their job search.
To support economic prosperity, the Government will encourage and support Canadians to stay active in the job market-either working or looking for work.
Connecting Canadians with available jobs
Claimants have always had a responsibility to look for suitable work while collecting EI regular and fishing benefits.
To help them find work, the Government is:
-- enhancing the Job Alerts system to include more relevant job postings and information about the job market in claimants' local areas. Claimants may also choose to receive information on the job market in other regions;-- strengthening links between the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and EI program to ensure that qualified Canadians are considered before foreign workers; and-- working with interested provinces and territories to explore ways to help people on EI access employment supports earlier in their claim.
"Reasonable job search" and "suitable employment"
In addition, the updated regulations define what constitutes suitable employment and a reasonable job search in very clear terms and will come into effect January 6, 2013.
Several factors will determine what will be considered suitable employment, including:
-- personal circumstances (e.g. poor health, not physically capable of performing the work, family obligations and limited transportation);-- working conditions (e.g.. position offered is not vacant due directly to a strike, lockout or other labour dispute);-- hours of work (e.g. all available hours of work, including hours per day and available outside the previous work schedule, are deemed to be suitable for employment); and-- commuting time (e.g. workplace is within a one-hour commute-could be higher taking into account previous commuting history and community's average commuting time).
Two additional criteria will vary based on the claimant's EI history and the duration of the claim:
-- type of work (e.g. responsibilities, tasks, qualifications, experience); and-- wages.