Business of Supply – Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance

That this House call on the Conservative government to abandon plans to further restrict access to Employment Insurance for Canadian workers who have followed the rules and who will now be forced to choose between taking a pay cut of up to 30% or losing their Employment Insurance benefits.

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, as my hon. friend from Beauséjour may be aware, the Green Party has put out a press release expressing a deep concern about the way this is going to go.

I will ask the member a hypothetical question because I do not think the Conservative Party recognizes the real-life experience of seasonal workers. If people are laid off from a job in a lumber mill but know they will be back in four months, they will be told to take another job somewhere else. If they get fired in that other job because they are not very good at it, they will lose benefits. Would that not be the case under this new scenario?

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc: Madam Speaker, our colleague again identifies one of the perverse consequences of these proposed changes. That is exactly what will happen. If people are unable, because of their skill level or their experience, to do a job that they are forced to take because they fear that their benefits will be cut off if they do not take it, and then they lose that job, through no fault of their own, the fact that they were terminated will mean that they will not have access to employment insurance benefits, and those people who had worked previously at a seasonal job may not be able to get that job back. It is a very unfortunate and complicated circumstance.