« Just what you should keep/return after a breakup? | Main | Car insurance cheaper for electric vehicles: report »

May 22, 2021

EI reform: No more sitting around on pogey when there’s work to do

The debate over proposed changes to the $22-billion employment insurance system – which could force people to move to where the jobs are and penalize repeat claimants – isn't going away.

Canadians won't know exactly what the government has in mind until new regulations on defining "suitable employment" are unveiled in the next few months. But critics say it's high time the rules were cleaned up.

"We need EI reform to end the shameful damage it has caused in many communities, particularly throughout eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada," says Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Once a Halifax restaurant owner, Crowley thinks way too many people are gaming the system.

"We had applicants who would only agree to be hired if we would promise to lay them off when they had qualified for EI. They liked to do their crafts during the autumn and sell them (under the table for cash) at the Christmas craft fairs," he declares.

But is it really that simple?

The idea that Canadians should take any job available, even if it's grossly above or beyond their skill level, or in another field altogether, is tricky. Why would empoloyers want them, knowing they're unlikely to stay? And isn't really looking for a position a job in itself?

But the current message is clear: whether they're spoiled, unwilling to take on jobs that are deemed “beneath” them, or simply lacking a real work ethic to begin with, a lot of people looking to collect EI are in for a bit of a shock.

What's your experience? Is there gaming going on where you live? Or are most people using EI the way it was initially intended?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...