Since the viral epidemic, Canada has extended utmost support to the public to ensure health and safety on a large scale, demonstrating its commitment to its residents. Most of the workers have seen tormenting times in the pandemic in many countries. Yet, the Canadian government has offered benefits for the workers like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Recovery Benefits that help the workers stay safe in these unprecedented times.
The administration ensured quick measures that give flexibility to the workers through temporary benefits from last September. The introduction of such an Employment Insurance (EI) program was accessible for many workers. Since last fall, the government has helped over 3.79 million workers to access the EI program. The program has successfully provided more than $37 billion to support Canadian workers and their families.
The government measures have been advancing with robust implementation of initiatives like additional support with access to the EI sickness benefits for more than 297,000 workers. The program helped the workers to get the basic needs fulfilled during the crisis by helping them with proper meals for the day as they stayed at home. The Canadian administration considers the EI program to be most crucial as it cushions stressful situations like temporary disruptions in employment and helps during economic downturns.
Moreover, the pandemic has compelled the government to modify the EI program to ensure that it meets the needs of the present-day labor market.
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, unveiled reforms to the EI program in August by launching a consultation with all the stakeholders, employers, and employees. The Government of Canada planned an investment of $5 million for two years 2021–22 in the Budget 2021.
The government aims to understand the needs of the workers, and it would benefit the employers and the employees. The reforms would include improvements in accessibility, affordability, and adequacy. The new measures will throw light on the need to fill the gap due to the pandemic by offering support for self-employed, freelancers, gig workers with uninterrupted and reliable benefits.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are insufficient job opportunities and a slower economic recovery until 2023. Therefore the consultation will help the government develop a responsive EI program towards the evolving needs with sustainability.