News Release Article from  Employment and Social Development Canada

Archived - Government of Canada intends to table legislation to extend Employment Insurance benefits for long-tenured workers

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO, September 14, 2009-The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), today announced that the Government of Canada has given notice that it intends to introduce legislation that would temporarily provide additional Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits to unemployed long-tenured workers. These are individuals who have worked and paid EI premiums for a significant period of time and have previously made limited use of EI regular benefits.

"Our government intends to introduce legislation that would provide up to 20 weeks of additional EI benefits to unemployed long-tenured workers," said Minister Finley. "This is the right thing to do, and it is both fair and responsible. It will help Canadians who have worked hard and paid EI premiums for many years and who now find themselves in need of a hand up."

This new measure is designed to provide additional support to workers who have paid EI premiums for years and made limited use of the program, while they look for jobs in a recovering economy. It is a temporary measure, which builds on those introduced in Canada's Economic Action Plan.

Through the Economic Action Plan, the Government is helping workers hardest hit by the economic downturn by providing additional support and skills training. The measures announced in the Economic Action Plan provide assistance to all unemployed Canadians. These measures include providing nationally five extra weeks of EI regular benefits, increasing the maximum duration of benefits from 45 to 50 weeks in regions of high unemployment, and protecting jobs through the Work-Sharing program. Under the Career Transition Assistance initiative, the Economic Action Plan also provides assistance to long-tenured workers who need training to transition to a new industry. Through the Economic Action Plan, the Government has also frozen EI premiums for 2010 at the same rate as 2009.

"These measures and the legislation to be tabled demonstrate that the Government continues to make responsible choices to support Canadians now. We are responding quickly with time-limited measures to meet current needs," added Minister Blackburn.

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This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

For further information (media only):

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-5559


Backgrounder


The Government of Canada has given notice that it intends to introduce legislation that would temporarily provide additional Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits to unemployed long-tenured workers.

This new measure has been designed to provide additional support through extended EI regular benefits to Canadians who have worked and paid EI premiums for a significant period of time and have previously made limited use of EI regular benefits.

More specifically, a long-tenured worker is someone who meets these criteria:

  • has contributed to the EI program (paid at least 30 percent of the annual maximum EI premiums) for at least seven out of ten calendar years; and
  • has received regular EI benefits for no more than 35 weeks in the last five years.

The proposed legislation would extend regular benefits for eligible long-tenured workers by between 5 and 20 weeks, depending on the number of years they have worked and paid EI premiums.

It is estimated that this temporary measure would benefit approximately 190,000 long-tenured workers. The start date would be linked to the coming into force of the Bill, and payments of the extended benefits would continue until fall 2011.

For those long-tenured workers who need new skills to transition to a new field or occupation, the Government has created the Career Transition Assistance initiative as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. It consists of two measures, which provide the following:

  • up to 104 weeks of EI regular benefits to long-tenured workers participating in longer duration training (more than 20 weeks); and
  • earlier access to long-tenured workers who invest part or all of their severance monies in training.

Through the Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada has also implemented measures to support all unemployed Canadians. These measures include providing nationally five extra weeks of EI regular benefits, increasing the maximum duration of benefits from 45 to 50 weeks in regions of high unemployment, protecting jobs through the Work-Sharing program, and freezing EI premiums for 2010 at the same rate as 2009 to provide economic stimulus. For more information on these measures, please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

For more information on the proposed measure: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/employment/ei/Fact_sheet.shtml


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