February, 17 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough; Canada Employment Insurance Commission’s (CEIC) Commissioner for Workers, Pierre Laliberté; and the CEIC’s Commissioner for Employers, Nancy Healey, issued the following joint statement today after the final roundtable of the first phase of consultations on modernizing the Employment Insurance (EI) Program in Canada:
“The Government of Canada and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission would like to thank the many participants across the country who shared valuable insights during this first phase of consultations on modernizing the EI program. The pandemic has shown us just how important a strong, responsive EI program is. It must ensure that benefits are accessible, adequate and equitable across the country for unemployed workers. The last two years have shown us the importance of having a system that supports all workers, while encouraging workforce participation.
Since the launch of consultations in August 2021, employer and labour groups, community organizations, sector groups, self-employed and gig worker associations, parent and family associations, and academics have shared their expertise and experience to help modernize EI to make it simpler, more responsive, inclusive and sustainable.
Including the opening and closing roundtables, we have hosted ten national stakeholder roundtables and 11 regional stakeholder roundtables that have focused on gathering input on a range of issues under the broad theme of improving access to EI.
An online survey also ran from August 6, 2021 until November 19, 2021 in which Canadians shared their views on how to improve the EI program so that it continues to be relevant for today’s labour market and workforce. The online consultations generated more than 1,900 responses to the online questionnaire from individuals across the country and approximately 60 submissions from groups and individuals representing employers, workers and unions.
Throughout the consultations, stakeholders agreed that the EI program must adapt to meet the changing nature of work. They also stressed the importance of reforming EI to better support employers experiencing labour shortages through the training and upskilling of workers.
They shared their views on barriers to accessing benefits flexibility when taking different EI benefits in succession, the classification of workers, and flexibility for seasonal workers and providing support measures in the off-season.
This spring, we will publish a report summarizing what we heard during this first phase. We look forward to continuing the conversation later this year during the second phase of the consultation process, which will take a deeper dive into issues such as coverage during life events, supports for self-employed and gig workers, the adequacy of benefits and EI financing .
The input received through these consultations will help us create an EI program that better serves workers and employers and meets the challenges of today and tomorrow. Together, we will continue our work to bring Canada’s EI program into the 21st century.”
For media inquiries, please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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