ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

Registration

SI/2012-98 December 19, 2012

JOBS, GROWTH AND LONG-TERM PROSPERITY ACT

Order Fixing January 6, 2013 as the Day on which Sections 605 and 607 of the Act Come into Force

P.C. 2012-1609 November 29, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, pursuant to subsection 619(2) of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, chapter 19 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012, fixes January 6, 2013 as the day on which sections 605 and 607 of that Act come into force.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

To fix January 6, 2013, as the day on which sections 605 and 607 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act come into force.

Objective

The objective of the Order is to bring into force

  • amendments to the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act) at the same time as the related amendments to the Employment Insurance Regulations (EI Regulations) needed to support the implementation of the Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs (CCAJ) initiative; and
  • provisions for a new limitation period applicable to the repayment of employment insurance (EI) benefits.

Background

Through the Economic Action Plan 2012 — Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity, the Government of Canada announced a number of improvements to the EI program so that it remains fair and flexible and helps Canadians find work, as well as operates in a cost-effective manner.

The CCAJ initiative is a set of measures to help unemployed workers find employment and return to work more quickly where there are suitable job opportunities available in their local labour market. While the EI Act outlines general responsibilities for regular claimants to conduct a reasonable job search and includes provisions stipulating that they have to be willing to accept suitable employment, it does not provide a clear and detailed articulation of their responsibilities while on EI. As a result, regular claimants have the flexibility to refuse work and restrict their job search to their usual occupation and wage rate, without fully considering a wider array of re-employment opportunities. Ambiguity pertaining to claimant responsibilities also limits the effectiveness of program compliance measures.

One element of CCAJ (section 605 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act) is a legislative amendment which repeals legislative provisions in subsections 27(2) and (3) of the EI Act related to the definition of suitable employment and comparison of earnings to previous employment. Going forward, these provisions will be prescribed in the Regulations. The repeal of the legislative provisions corresponds to the coming into force of the Regulations.

With respect to cost-effectiveness, section 607 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act provides the Canada Employment Insurance Commission with discretion in pursuing potential overpayments arising from employer bankruptcy or wrongful dismissal, if more than 36 months have elapsed since the layoff or separation from employment, and the administrative cost of determining and collecting the overpayment would likely exceed the amount of the repayment.

Implications

By bringing into force these amendments to the EI Act, as well as the related regulations, claimants will clearly understand, and be able to meet, their responsibilities while on claim, as well as be able to transition back into the labour force more quickly, and Service Canada will be able to provide regular claimants with more precise information and direction with respect to their responsibility to undertake a reasonable job search for suitable employment. In addition, savings will be achieved by providing discretion in pursuing potential overpayments.

Consultation

The Employment Insurance Commissioners for Workers and Employers were briefed on this issue in summer 2012 and they are in agreement with this approach.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and her colleagues consult citizens and stakeholders from across the country on an ongoing basis on labour market issues, including the EI program.

Departmental contact

Jay Wakelin
Director
Quantitative Analysis
Employment Insurance Policy Directorate
Skills and Employment Branch
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J9
Telephone: 819-953-8030
Fax: 819-934-6631