To the editor:
I’m writing today in response to Rodger Cuzner’s letter, headlined Tory EI changes punish the poor, on page A9 of the Oct. 10 edition of the Free Press.
Canadians should be better off working, than not. This is why we are making a number of changes to Employment Insurance (EI) to support Canadians.
On Aug. 5, we introduced a new pilot project which will let individuals keep 50 cents of every dollar earned. They can keep more of what they earn when they accept more work while on EI.
This is an improvement because under the old pilot project, EI claimants could only keep 40 per cent of their benefits or $75. Individuals were discouraged from accepting more work.
My colleagues and I have listened to feedback from Canadians since the announcement, and there were concerns that some people needed more time to transition. For some, the previous pilot rules would initially help them to be better off.
In order to help these people to transition to the new pilot, we adjusted the program so anyone who worked while on claim between August 2011 and August 2012 now has the option to be grandfathered under the old pilot project rules.
We know Canadians want to get back to work and we want to help them. EI is a temporary income support for individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It should not discourage people from accepting jobs or hours that are available.
We are supporting Canadians and their families by focusing on jobs and the economy. Our government will also continue to ensure EI is fair, flexible and responsive for those who need it.
Cathy McLeod, MP