Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it has been a rough few weeks for Canadians looking for answers about employment insurance changes. They are still waiting for the Conservatives to say what “suitable employment” really means; to explain how communities relying on seasonal industries will be affected; to explain whether they are even taking into account the difficulties facing youth, minorities and the disabled in finding jobs.
When will the Conservatives finally do the right thing: stop their attacks and start listening to Canadians concerned about these changes?
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the real question is, when will the NDP stop spreading misinformation and trying to scare Canadians?
What we would be doing is giving those people who have lost jobs through no fault of their own help in finding jobs within their skill sets, within their geographic area. For the first time, we would make available to them job alerts twice a day, not three times every two weeks, to let them know what jobs are out there. We would ensure that if they cannot find a job in their area, within their skill sets, EI will be there for them, as it always has been.
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives would see targeting Canadian workers as helping them.
How else can we explain changing the fair wages law to make federally-contracted construction workers earn less, or why some Canadians would be forced to work for 30% less without even getting a fair chance to look for work in their field?
There have been no consultations, no accountability and no real answers from the minister. These EI changes are a mess.
When will the minister finally admit that this is flawed legislation that needs to go back to the drawing board?
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC): Mr. Speaker, these changes are actually common sense. Our priority is job creation and increasing the growth and prosperity of our country. In fact, we have been very successful with that, creating over 750,000 net new jobs since the recession.
At the same time, we recognize there are Canadians who have difficulty finding work, particularly, in areas where it is mainly seasonal work or seasonal industries or one-industry towns. We would help those people get access to the jobs that do exist. However, if they do not exist, we would ensure that they still have access to EI.