On November 27, 2013, Quebec’s National Employment Insurance Review Commission released its report regarding the impact of the federal government’s 2012 changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program. The report makes 30 recommendations, with three key recommendations calling for the provincial and federal governments to negotiate an agreement giving Quebec the power to manage its own EI system to meet the needs of the province’s labour market.
In 2012, the federal government made significant changes to the employment insurance system to ensure its efficiency in connecting unemployed Canadians with work. These new rules require unemployed EI recipients to undertake a wider and more aggressive job search, among other things. The changes came into force in 2013 and only apply to Canadians receiving regular and fishing EI benefits. They do not apply to the special EI benefits of maternity, parental, compassionate and sick leave.
The main areas where the program changed are:
- Measures to better connect the EI program and the Temporary Foreign Workers program so that unemployed Canadians are informed of and can apply for vacant jobs before employers are approved to hire temporary foreign workers
- Ensuring that EI recipients receive comprehensive job postings on a daily basis from multiple sources
- Clarifying what are considered a “reasonable job search” and “suitable employment” for EI claimants
Several provinces criticized the federal government for the changes and their impact on workers. The Quebec government established the National Employment Insurance Review Commission in March 2013, with the mandate to:
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First Reference Human Resources and Employment/labour law Compliance Managing Editor