EI won't be taken away, says Shea

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Egmont MP Gail Shea

TC MEDIA

TIGNISH -- In a yearend interview, Egmont MP and Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea sought to reassure constituents that Employment Insurance will still be available to those who can’t find a job.

“Is there more enforcement? Yes, there is, but I think it wouldn’t be argued there was not much enforcement in the past,” Shea said of changes made to the Employment Insurance Act. She said the system was sometimes frustrating for employers, because they felt like they were competing with the EI system when seeking employees.

She pointed to what’s driving the changes to the EI system: “We have an aging population, a shrinking workforce and there’s a real concern of who’s going to do the jobs in the future when we just don’t have the people.”

There are more expectations on workers to seek out work while on EI. “There are some changes, yes. I think people need to know that EI will be there. It’s not going to be taken away from them, but, will they be expected to take work that’s available in their area, if the pay scale is within the range? Of course they will be, if they’re qualified for that work,” Shea stressed.

“I know some people are concerned and I’ve passed on all of the concerns,” she added.

But Prince Edward Island’s lone MP on the government side of the House said there are many opportunities available to workers, as well pointing out both the federal and provincial government have invested heavily in skills training. That includes new Holland College campuses in Alberton and Summerside. “Anybody would tell you more and more people are taking up those opportunities to get trained. The facilities are there and the assistance is there,” she said.

The regional minister for Prince Edward Island was also asked about the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s decision to terminate core funding to Regional Development Organizations, including Resources  West and the Central Prince Development Corporation at the end of the current fiscal year in March. She pointed out ACOA has employees spread throughout Atlantic Canada who deliver many of the same services. “We can’t be spending taxpayers’ money duplicating things,” she stressed.

She pointed out the Minister responsible for ACOA, Bernard Valcourt, has indicated he will be having discussions with the provinces going forward on the best way to ensure services continue to be delivered. She said she will be passing on to Valcourt discussions happening within the RDOs about project management and will seek answers on whether the federal government can partner with the province in delivering services out the Rural Action Centres.

Organizations: Employment Insurance, Holland College, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Central Prince Development

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Alberton, Summerside Atlantic Canada Valcourt

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  • SG
    December 26, 2012 - 22:04

    (“We have an aging population, a shrinking workforce and there’s a real concern of who’s going to do the jobs in the future when we just don’t have the people.” But Prince Edward Island’s lone MP on the government side of the House said there are many opportunities available to workers, as well pointing out both the federal and provincial government have invested heavily in skills training.) Who's going to do the jobs in the future? Jobs in the future? Where are the jobs Islanders' need now? If our Island had Jobs scores of Islanders wouldn't have to move to Western Canada or Ontario to find work! When they move to another Province to secure work their tax dollars go with them! If Islanders continue to move to Western Canada, Ontario, etc. for employment our population will continue to decline. How will our Province survive if our population and tax dollars continue to decrease?(There are many opportunities available to workers on PEI.) Where are these opportunities? What advantage is Skill Training if there aren't jobs avbailable in those sectors? There are VERY FEW Job Opportunities on PEI that are not Seasonal Employment.

  • SG
    December 26, 2012 - 21:43

    Gerry: (The excessive abuse enabled the freeloaders to become devoid of any initiative and conscience.) The Majority of Job Opportunities on PEI are Seasonal. This in addition to the lack of Job Opportunities is the reason the Majority of Islanders have to depend on EI. If Islanders didn't have an EI Program I guess they'd have to depend on Welfare. Which would you prefer? A Program that Employees contribute to or a Program that "we the taxpayers" support with our tax dollars? Every system has some level of abuse. A large number of Islanders are living in Western Canada due to the lack of Job Opportunities on PEI. Hence their tax dollars are supporting those Provinces not PEI. Hence it is a Loose Loose situation for PEI either way. The majority of these people want to work. Is it there fault PEI can't provide them with Employment? Not in my opinion

  • Purple Library Guy
    December 26, 2012 - 18:25

    They won't be taking away EI because it's too late--it's already mostly gone. Only about a third of people who pay in and find themselves out of work get to collect. Insurance my foot--EI payments are pretty much just a (regressive) tax nowadays, which wouldn't be so bad if they weren't lying to us about it.

  • Fed Up
    December 26, 2012 - 11:34

    Those of you down on Gail Shea....just as Ghiz. HE will save you.....DUH HST will be sure to put money in your pockets....not to mention all the money spent on round-abouts and straightening highways that have been there for a hundred years. HE will save all you die hard Liberals....just like he is now....

  • Gerry
    December 26, 2012 - 10:27

    In total agreement with "Just My Opinion". There are those who only rely on EI when absolutely necessary, which is totally fair. Then there are those who believe it is a never-ending right of passage (cultural mind-set) because: 1) The EI process was never administered and monitored prudently, thus has become a financial burden for all taxpayers; and 2) The excessive abuse enabled the freeloaders to become devoid of any initiative and conscience.

  • fedup
    December 26, 2012 - 07:47

    It's so horrible that Joe Blow the fisherman will not be able to collect his usual EI, hire his spouse though she wouldn't even know the colour of the vessell so she can also collect EI. Maybe work 4 months than sit on their asses with top stamps while a single mother raising 2 children barely makes it to the beginning of each month struggles everyday and has to work 12 months. Somethings wrong here PEI.

    • stanley murray
      December 26, 2012 - 14:45

      I may be mistaken,but I don't believe the EI changes affect fishermen

  • Norman Norwoman
    December 26, 2012 - 07:43

    If the Harper government is saying EI will be there everyone should be concerned that it will not. They have proven over and over again that what they say is not what they do.

  • grampie
    December 26, 2012 - 05:25

    Very few people puts much stake on what Ms Shea has to say so why was this printed?

  • sick
    December 26, 2012 - 04:32

    you betterr hope they dont remove EI because your going to need it !!!!Punishing Islander and seasonal workers who vote.....??????Your boss is nuts!!!!

  • waldorf
    December 25, 2012 - 18:42

    Just remember Gail Shea in less then 3 years you will be on EI,,, and i can not wait to see you defeated .... we might as well elected a potatoe for all you did for the pei workers,. how many million did harper take from pei the job cuts, the cuts to ei, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO CALL YOURSELF AN ISLANDER...............

  • JUST MY OPINION
    December 25, 2012 - 18:31

    This is a lot of hype over nothing. You won't lose your EI if there are no jobs, however you will lose your EI if you refuse to get off your duff and get out there and look. It's not a paid vacation and it's not an entitlement. Most people who rely on EI year after year are taking way more from the system that they're contributing, so no you're not really entitled to it. Just my opinion.

  • Allan King
    December 25, 2012 - 17:43

    Gail you and that thing in Ottawa are a disgrace!