Statement by Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Canada Employment Insurance Commission

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough; the Canada Employment Insurance Commission’s (CEIC) Commissioner for Workers, Pierre Laliberté; and the CEIC’s Commissioner for Employers, Nancy Healey, issued the statement below today on the launch of consultations on modernizing the Employment Insurance program. The online survey will open on Monday, August 9, 2021, at canada.ca/ei-consultations. The survey is scheduled to run until Friday, October 8, 2021.

“It is in the shared interest of workers, employers and the Government of Canada to revitalize and modernize Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) system so that it can respond to the changing nature of work, and truly complement the needs of the current labour market.

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized some pre-existing gaps in access, adequacy and efficiency within the EI program and the ability for the EI system to act as an economic stabilizer during economic events. The EI program has not kept pace with the changing nature of work, falls short of supporting the self-employed and gig worker population, and no longer reflects the appropriate speed, levels or flexibility of employment benefits to support workers during interruptions in their work.

A modern EI system must also support an efficient and resilient labour market while taking into consideration any future financial impacts that changes may have-impacts that currently fall entirely on employers and workers in the way of premiums.

Consultations on Modernizing Canada’s Employment Insurance Program, officially launched today, will establish a blueprint for an ambitious tripartite effort from government, employers and workers to help Canadians transition out of the pandemic and set forth a roadmap of work to build back a more inclusive and resilient economy. The EI consultation process will help the Government of Canada better understand the needs of workers and employers who could benefit from improvements to the EI program, including issues surrounding access, adequacy and affordability. The CEIC has played a key leadership role in overseeing the operation of the EI program and in representing the important perspectives of both workers and employers for over 80 years. As we turn toward a modern EI system, it is critical to reaffirm the importance of the CEIC and ensure its continued leadership role throughout these consultations and into the future.

The participation of stakeholders and input received through these consultations will help build an EI program that is more responsive to the evolving needs of workers and employers, while ensuring its long-term financial sustainability.

Although interests and considerations by all parties will not always align, the tripartite approach will ensure all perspectives are considered in outlining a measured and effective path forward on how we modernize the EI system to better support workers and employers now and into the future.”

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