Inhumane Resources

A woman explaining the impact of the new changes for qualifying for employment insurance in Canada (Source: CBC News)
A woman explaining the impact of the new changes for qualifying for employment insurance in Canada (Source: CBC News)

Once again, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government have demonstrated that good intentions does not necessarily mean having a good understanding of a problem that needs to be solved.

Effective Sunday January 6th, 2013, Canadians needing employment insurance (a term which in itself has become an oxymoron since it does not guarantee you are covered if you are out of work) will have to try harder to prove they are performing a reasonable job search. Never mind the fact the unemployed, such as myself, are already going well beyond that effort: the government wants us to try harder in order to quality for employment insurance. You see, the government thinks we are lazy.

Here are some of the gruesome details, pulled from the CBC News article.

  • A new job bank to receive Email alerts for potential openings. Terrific. Yet another job bank I can go to on top of the 8 I regularly visit, in direct competition with thousands of other job seekers, so I can clutter my inbox with even more alerts.
  • A cookie-cutter approach, and I quote “the type of work, wages, commuting time, working conditions, hours of work, and personal circumstances, will be considered when defining ‘suitable employment.'”. Forget the fact that people have different needs and special requirements when applying for jobs. And to those people on EI who want to pursue the career they either spent years training for or working at, the government can say you are not trying hard enough and demand you expand your search to take any job, or no EI for you. Engineers driving cabs. Programmers working at McDonalds.

The galling part of all of this is the fact that seasonal workers are being punished the most. In areas of Canada (such as the Atlantic provinces and rural areas), seasonal work is the only type of work around. To find any sort of income, they have to take the seasonal job or the rent does not get paid and there’s no food on the table. Doing just that, however, will penalize them on EI assistance when the time comes to apply again in-between jobs.

All of these changes will do absolutely nothing to help people land steady full-time work. Not only will the unemployed like myself continue to face dwindling job opportunities, we will now be considered lazy if we do not succeed in our job search according to the new standards defined. For that, we will be denied funding from a system I am and many Canadians have paid into since our teens.

What is needed, and I’ve said this countless times in my blog until I’m blue in the face, is to:

  • get the economy to produce more jobs by lowering corporate income tax so more businesses will come here and not run away,
  • improve funding for the post secondary education system to give our young people the skills to get the jobs they need (if not start their own business and create new jobs),
  • make the captains of industry, the government, and employment assistance and social services work closer together to help people find jobs by identifying key needs.

We are a country with rich resources and a population that wants to work. There is no need to resort to this sort of attack on the unemployed who are only trying to find a job and need help doing  just that

Thanks for reading!



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