Employment Insurance Improvements Taking Effect to Support Canada's Middle Class
July 14, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is keeping its commitment to helping the middle class and those seeking to join it by improving the Employment Insurance (EI) program. New measures are now in effect this month that will make more Canadians eligible for support, simplify job-search rules, and provide more help for people impacted by the commodities sector downturn. It will mean that EI is there for more Canadians that need it, when they need it.
The changes include the elimination of EI eligibility requirements for new entrants and re-entrants. Instead of having to accumulate 910 hours of insurable employment, claimants newly entering the workforce or returning after an absence of two or more years must now meet the same eligibility requirements as other claimants in the economic region where they live. This measure will provide access to EI support for many new workers, including young Canadians, women and new Canadians.
Job search responsibilities for EI claimants have been simplified. Rules enacted in 2012 forcing unemployed workers to commute farther or take lower-paying jobs have been reversed.
Canadians living in the 15 identified EI economic regions hardest hit by the commodities downturn and that have experienced a sharp and sustained increase in local job losses have started to receive extended EI regular benefits. This measure will ensure that eligible Canadians in these regions have the financial support they need while they search for work.
These three measures, which were outlined in Budget 2016, came into effect on July 3, 2016, and are part of the Government’s plan to help Canada’s middle class and those working hard to join it.
“We are delivering on our commitment to improve the Employment Insurance program so that it better serves workers and employers. These changes to the EI program give Canadians access to more help when they need it”.
–The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
- Budget 2016 will provide $2.7 billion over the next two years for improvements to EI to help Canadians across the country.
- The elimination of the new entrant and re-entrant rules is expected to benefit approximately 50,000 Canadians who claim EI annually across Canada.
- Eligible claimants in 15 economic regions where EI benefits were extended are eligible for an additional 5 weeks of EI regular benefits, up to a maximum of 50 weeks. Up to an additional 20 weeks of EI regular benefits is also available to long-tenured workers, up to a maximum of 70 weeks. This measure will help provide approximately 235,000 workers with financial stability until they find new employment, with up to $13,000 per worker.
- The extension of Work-Sharing agreements, in effect as of April 1, 2016, is expected to benefit up to 33,000 additional workers across Canada, and help companies keep their workforce stable as commodity prices rebound.
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