Harper not doing enough to help unemployed
Random-Burin-St. George’s MP Judy Foote said freezing Employment Insurance (EI) premiums is a step in the right direction.
However, she insisted the Harper government is still not doing enough to ensure people who need access to EI are able to get that assistance.
“While I am pleased the finance minister has decided to freeze EI premiums for the next three years, after years of steadily increasing the costs workers and employers must pay into the program, I remain concerned the existing EI program is still inaccessible to thousands of Canadians who need it.”
Mrs. Foote has long maintained 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.
She noted the previous federal Liberal government had lowered EI premiums 12 years in a row, saving employees and their employers $59 billion.
“Unfortunately, freezing EI premiums for the next three years doesn’t make up for the billions of dollars in increases the Conserva- tives have forced workers and employers to pay.”
The MP said the Harper government must now take immediate action to make EI more accessible to those who need the support and address unacceptable wait times for processing EI claims.
She chided the finance minister for boasting about fewer Canadians claiming EI.
“What he fails to mention is that changes to EI implemented by the Harper government are making it more difficult than ever for many Canadians to receive the financial assistance they so desperately need from a program into which they have contributed.”
Mrs. Foote also believes the Harper government must focus on factors driving high unemployment and underemployment, as well as the need for improved skills training and education. She said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has committed to reversing “irresponsible Conservative changes” to Employment Insurance (EI) when the Liberals form government so Canadians are no longer forced to move from their communities in order to find work.