Foote condemns Conservative EI tax hikes, demands fix for system
Random-burin-st. George’s MP Judy Foote says the Conservative government must immediately address the backlog of Employment Insurance applications.
She also wants the government to fix the excessive wait times for applications to be processed and improve service to Canadians.
“My constituents in Random-burinSt. George’s and Canadians across the country are suffering while they wait for their applications to be processed and are unable to find out information on their claims.
“They have mortgages to pay, families to feed and there was little holiday cheer for them this past Christmas. The processing wait times have become excessively slow and people are unable to find out if they are going to be able to pay their bills on time because they are unable to get through to Service Canada.”
The MP’S offices have received an influx of phone calls from constituents anxious to get their applications processed. She claimed when constituents contact Service Canada they are frequently told by an automated system they cannot be connected to a representative, to call back the next day or to check the website.
“Often, calls are disconnected after constituents have been on hold for excessive wait times. Clearly, the Harper government does not understand the realities of Canadians who have lost their jobs and the importance of the timely processing of applications. As well, many rural Canadians cannot check the status of their claim online because they do not have access to the internet.”
Mrs. Foote was careful to note Service Canada employees were doing the best they could with the limited resources they are given by the Conservative government.
She insisted the Conservative government’s modernization of the system has been a dismal failure.
“Stephen Harper’s cutbacks to EI processing centres and mismanagement has led to a system that is not there for Canadians when they need it most. The Conservative government must immediately add sufficient resources to fix the backlog of applications, improve processing times and start providing proper service.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Foote cited the Conservative decision to raise Employment Insurance premiums Jan. 1 could not have come at a worse time.
She said the Conservative government raised the job killing tax in spite of the Liberals’ recommendation to freeze the Employment Insurance premium.
“While the Canadian economy remains fragile and the Department of Finance has cut Canada’s 2012 economic growth forecast by 25 per cent from last year’s projections, the Harper Conservatives have irresponsibly hiked the EI premium by $600 million. The Employment Insurance premium is a tax on jobs that will slow economic growth, hinder job creation and make it more difficult for families to make ends meet.”
Mrs. Foote suggested for the second straight year, the Conservatives have recklessly raised the Employment Insurance premium risking Canada’s economic success. She said the average worker will now have to pay almost $100 more this year than in 2010, and many employers will now have to pay up to $130 more for each of their employees.
“With economic growth slowing, the last thing my constituents need is for the Conservative government to make job creation and employment more expensive for businesses.”