In determining these criteria, EI claimants will be placed in one of three categories:
-- Long-tenured workers would be those who have paid at least 30 percent of the annual maximum EI premiums for 7 of the past 10 years and who, over the last 5 years, have collected EI regular or fishing benefits for 35 weeks or less.-- Frequent claimants would be those who have had three or more claims for EI regular or fishing benefits and have collected benefits for a total of more than 60 weeks in the past 5 years.-- Occasional claimants would be all other claimants.
Additionally, claimants must undertake reasonable job search efforts that are sustained and geared towards obtaining suitable employment, including the following job search activities:
-- research and assessing job opportunities-- preparing a resume or cover letter-- registering for job search tools such as electronic job banks or employment agencies-- attending workshops or job fairs-- networking-- contacting prospective employers-- submitting job applications-- attending interviews-- undergoing competency evaluations
Union hiring halls will remain a part of a reasonable job search effort. Individuals may restrict job search efforts to only union hiring halls during the weeks where they are required to seek suitable employment opportunities within the same occupation.
For more information on how the new measures can help EI claimants find work, visit servicecanada.ca/eichanges.
Recent changes to EI
The Government recently introduced Bill C-44, The Helping Families in Need Act, that will give parents who receive EI parental benefits access to sickness benefits and create the new EI benefit for parents of critically ill children. The Government has also introduced a new federal income support grant for parents of murdered or missing children.
In addition to Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs, Economic Action Plan 2012 is making EI a more efficient program that promotes job creation and removes disincentives to work through several initiatives.
-- New Variable Best Weeks benefit rate calculation: This permanent, national approach will better align the calculation of EI benefit amounts with local labour market conditions. Unlike the previous pilot projects that were available only in some regions, the new legislated Variable Best Weeks benefit rate calculation will be pan-Canadian, ensuring that people living in regions with similar employment rates receive similar benefits-no matter where they live. Current provisions in each region will continue to apply until the new measure is implemented on April 7, 2013.-- EI premium rate: Economic Action Plan 2012 limits EI premium rate increases to 5 cents each year until the EI operating account is balanced. Once the account has returned to balance, the EI premium rate will be set annually at a seven-year break-even rate to ensure that the EI operating account is in balance at the end of that period. When the seven-year rate-setting mechanism is in place, annual adjustments to the rate will continue to be limited to 5 cents. These improvements will ensure affordability for premium rates while offering ongoing predictability and stability.-- Hiring Credit for Small Business: Economic Action Plan 2012 also extends the $1,000 Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year to help small businesses defray the costs of hiring new workers.-- Working While on Claim pilot project: The new pilot project that went into effect on August 5, 2012, is intended to help claimants stay connected with the labour market by encouraging these claimants to accept available work while receiving EI benefits and earn additional income while on claim.
Starting January 6, 2013, eligible claimants may also have the option of reverting to the provisions of the previous pilot project to give them time to transition and adjust to the new approach.
Office of Minister Finley
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Human Resources and Skills Development Canada