The federal government formally announced plans last Thursday to alter the employment insurance regime and impose stricter requirements to retain benefits. The new regulations will expand the definition of “suitable employment” and what constitutes a “reasonable job search” in order to ensure EI claimants are not overly discerning when looking for work.
To assess “suitability of employment”, consideration will be given to:
The work a claimant is required to accept will depend on how frequently and for how long they have received benefits. Claimants will be divided into three categories:
In essence, frequent claimants will be forced to accept a wider range of work, including that which pays as little as 70% of their previous salary. By contrast, long-tenured workers will be permitted to look for more specific work that is closer to their previous salary.
Claimants will be required to provide evidence that they have actively looked for suitable work every day they are in receipt of benefits, and will be provided with comprehensive job postings on a daily basis from multiple sources to facilitate job searches. They will also be required to keep a record of job search efforts and submit the record upon request.
The proposed changes also strive to ensure unemployed Canadians are given the opportunity to apply for local jobs before employers are permitted to hire temporary foreign workers.
Notably, the changes are only intended to apply to individuals in receipt of regular and fishing EI benefits, but not to those in receipt of EI special benefits such as maternity, parental, compassionate and sick leave benefits.
As a result of the proposed changes, employers should not be surprised to receive an influx of job applications from individuals in receipt of employment insurance benefits. On the other hand, these changes may bring some relief for employers involved in wrongful dismissal actions, as terminated employees will be further motivated to find alternative employment more quickly, limiting an employer’s potential liability.
If you have any questions about Employment Insurance benefits, or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
For more information on new developments in Workplace Law, please refer to our website at: http://www.mathewsdinsdale.com/news-events/in-a-flash/