Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Penalising the Unemployed

The Conservatives under Prime Minister Steven Harper are running the show like a dictatorial regime which never hesitates when it comes to shutting down adequate debate on important national issues such as the EI or F35 procurement. As usual, they’re again after the ‘short term gain,’ yet they don’t realise the long term financial pain later on.
Next year, the regime is implementing the new EI (Employment Insurance) rules and is setting aside $21 million for overhauling the system.

image source: google
Whether the overhaul would guarantee any financial security to the vulnerable jobless workers is far from clarity.
Apparently, the following three categories are aimed at remedying the crisis created by the unemployed including the "cheaters and the lazy workers":

Tier 1: Long-tenured workers who have paid into the EI program for seven of the past 10 years, and over the last five years have collected regular or fishing benefits for 35 weeks. These workers will be allowed to restrict their job hunt to positions that pay 90 per cent of their previous earnings and are in the same occupation. After 18 weeks, however, they will be expected to accept jobs that pay 80 per cent of their previous salary in the same field.
Tier 2: (Occasional) Frequent claimants are those who have had three or more claims (regular or fishing) for a total of more than 60 weeks in the past five years. Those out of work that fall between the definitions of long-tenured and frequent, can spend 18 weeks looking for a job in their "similar" occupation at 80 per cent of previous pay. After 18 weeks, those recipients will be expected to take any work that pays at least 70 per cent of earnings. Fifty eight percent of claimants are occasional claimants.
Tier 3: (Frequent) Occasional claimants are all other claimants, who have limited experience in being unemployed .Frequent EI users will be defined as someone who has made three or more regular or fishing claims and collected 60 or more weeks of benefits in the past five years. This category currently makes up 17 per cent of all EI claimants - mainly in Atlantic Canada. These recipients will only have six weeks to find a job in a "similar occupation" at least 80 per cent of pay.

Introducing new rules with the intention of going after the repeat claimants indiscriminately for no fault of theirs is certainly frustrating. Approximately 17 per cent of EI claimants are considered frequent users, while 58 per cent fall under the occasional category and 25 per cent fall under the long-tenured category.

In fact, the bias against the unfortunate ones is not only contemptuous but is unethical too, as the new 70 percent rule would bring more misery to the jobless Canadians. If you lose your job, you must be willing to accept a wage cut of up to 30 percent to qualify for EI benefit. But upon losing that job, you are getting another 30 percent wage decrease and the unfair trend would continue.

Under the proposed changes, benefit collection history of the claimant would be a determining factor to decide the amount and duration of EI benefits. Assessment would be based on evidence of job search activities, the intensity and frequency of the claimant’s efforts and the type of work he/she searches on daily basis.
There is a fear factor that new rules may further jeopardize the economic security of communities earning their living from seasonal industries. A seasonal worker in the fishery, tourism, forestry or agriculture won’t be allowed anymore to turn down the available position. Those looking for work must be willing to work at a job that is within one hour of commuting distance from their home, or longer in communities where longer commuting times are the norm. Under the new rules the internet access will be needed to receive the daily job posting emails.
It’s important that some serious steps are taken to persuade the repeaters to look seriously for gainful employment. Since some people make a career out of staying on EI for a prolonged period of time; new rules won’t mean much to them unless there is effective counselling to help them out of the chronic addiction.
Scapegoating the unemployed Canadians might give some political mileage to the Conservatives, yet the plight of common man won’t change much unless the abusers find no more loop holes for bilking money out of the system. Most importantly, some drastic economic measures have to be in place to bring back the outsourced work from foreign lands. Surely, more employment opportunities will ease the financial strain on the EI program.
Reforming the EI system to favour the jobless is a long way to go yet, and there is a lot of catching up to do indeed.
Question remains if recession is the perfect timing for gearing up against the unemployed.

17 comments:

Windsmoke. said...

I reckon these are very draconian measures indeed :-).

Crystal said...

It seems a little drastic and completely unfair to those that need it most.. why they're not taking extra steps to ensure that these benefits don't end up in the wrong hands I'm not sure.. With every post you write about the government leaders I get the distinct impression that they are in fact a dictator regime. That's not what the people need at this time. They need good strong leaders to bring them out of that.. to help their country thrive. This is a true shame.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with Crystal and only sincere leadership and not the dictatorship will replace the economic mysery.

Palomasea said...

Another educational post, Tariq...thank you for enlightening me re: the situation in Canada.

And thank you so much for your well wishes!
I like the new look you have here...
Fondly,
- Irina

Anonymous said...

the government must be sympathetic towards the unemployed Canadians and provide them gainful work with all related employment benefits.

Pari said...

All important issues should be thoroughly debated to maintain democratic order.
EI cheaters must stop now and the repeaters should think twice before applying for EI benefits.

sm said...

good laws and honesty is required

R. Ramesh said...

unemployment is a global issue now buddy..i recently interviewed a horse trainer..he is from europe and has worked as a stuntman in several hollywood films..but coz of recession he came to gulf..hmmm

Muhammad Israr said...

aaah...people talk about unemployement and social security..and here we are in pakistan of the 21st century, we talk about electricity! about gas, about justice and democracy! about mother tongues and so on :(

tariqMian said...

@ WINDSMOKE

THANKS FOR COMMENTING

tariqMian said...

@ CRYSTAL

YES THERE IS A DESPERATE NEED FOR GOOD/STRONG LEADERS INDEED.

tariqMian said...

@ PALOMASEA,
THANKS FOR READING THE POST AND THE ENCOURAGEMENT.

tariqMian said...

@PARI,
I AGREE THERE IS NO ROOM FOR CHEATERS.
THANKS FOR COMMENTING.

tariqMian said...

RAMESH!
OF COURSE, IT'S RECESSION AFFECTING EVERYONE, BUT THERE IS A NEED FOR PROCCEDING WITH DILIGENCE.

tariqMian said...

MUHAMMAD ISRAR,

PAKISTAN IS GOING THROUGH RECESSIONARY ENVIRONMENT IS DUE TO MIS-GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE PARALYSIS. THIS UNIQUE CONDITION AFFECTS THE MIDDLE CLASS ADVERSELY.

ACTUALLY, MIDDLE CLASS IS NOW BELOW POVERTY LINE.
ELECTRIC POWER THROUGH FURNACE OIL IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.
IT'S BETTER TO DEVELOP COAL ENERGY TO GIVE ECONOMIC BOOST TO THE COUNTRY.

♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

This is very informative, tariq sahab.

Thanks a lot for always visiting my blog.

tariqMian said...

very nice of you ♥●• İzdihër •●♥

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